No matter if you’ve never opened the TikTok app, you’ve heard about it from the “Gen Z’s” in your life, or it’s your current favorite distraction in between meetings, you’ve probably heard TikTok is one of the most popular platforms out there right now.
TikTok delivers video content to viewers on a range of topics from the latest news, how to fix a leaky kitchen faucet, recipes, the latest trends in business and marketing, and everything in between. Although the app is experimenting with long form videos of up to ten minutes, most videos are delivered in 15 to 60 seconds making content quick, easy to digest, and engaging.
When I first started scrolling on the TikTok app, I saw a lot of dancing videos, which were fun and cute, but I quickly formed the impression that this was clearly a “Gen Z” platform, a place a “millennial” like me has no business being an active participant.
The more and more time I spent on the app, I couldn’t stop my learning and development focused brain from seeing the platform as one that hosts microlearning videos. All I could see was a new platform for innovative microlearning. Then I got to thinking, what if we started adopting the same engaging, almost “bingeable” principles presented on the TikTok platform in everyday learning and development?
If you think back to the training you have developed, how often do you start with “In this module we will learn…” and then list each learning objective? Now ask yourself is this the type of content that tells the learner THIS is exactly how THIS course will solve your pain point? Is it gaining their interest? Or rather, is it setting the course up to be another boring listen and click Next training? My guess is that it usually is the latter. The GOOD news is with a few simple tweaks borrowed by what we are seeing on TikTok and other social platforms we can create content that your learners want to watch… and dare I say you can even get something to go viral!
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What TikTok Can Teach Us About Learning & Development
The fact is, people will stop “the scroll” and make learning a part of their day if the content makes them a priority. As we like to say here at Anchored Training, in order for learning to make a lasting impression, it must valuation, activate, and collaborate. Let’s take a look at some examples:
Provide value to your learners, however do so in a way that connects with them, and when appropriate entertain. It is no secret that our attention for things that do not feel meaningful before we begin is all of about 3 seconds. If you follow TikTok creators, the ones that are successful know they have about 3 seconds to reel you in before you swipe to the next video. The same is true for your favorite TV shows, movies, books, etc. They have to pack a punch to get you “hooked” to then deliver the value in the content.
One concept we love talking about at Anchored is edutainment. If you haven’t heard this term before, it is what we love to call the baby of Education and Entertainment. Many TikTok creators use this strategy and apply it to their work so that it engages their audience, and also educates them. This is what keeps their audience coming back for more tips and tricks. It also creates the opportunity to pull in characters, dialogues, and really touch the viewer because they see themselves in many of the scenarios the creator has portrayed.
When you create content that learners can connect with, that speaks directly to them through stories, scenarios, and pain points they have or are experiencing, you can begin to see them shift in how they view the content you are sharing and that it does provide value. In order for content to provide value, you also need to think of adult learning best practices such as: ensuring the WIIFM (What’s In It For ME) is there (from the beginning if you ask us), and you think about the length of your content. No longer do we have time to sit at our desk for 45-60 minute to complete a training session that includes every little thing you need to know about the topic. Even if we possibly can find the time, we are never fully present, as we are checking our email, Slack messages, etc. at the same time. However, by offering 30-60 second TikTok-style bites to complement your foundational training material, then you can probably cut down a lot of your 45-60 minute training down.
It is time to put what we learn into action! We all know that we don’t truly retain what we learn without practice and repetition. TikTok videos can help us do that! Because the content is so short, anytime you need a refresher on a new skill, tip or trick, you can jump back to that specific TikTok video and not worry about spending time sifting through the video to find the precise time where that content was shared.
For example, TikTok creator @Miss.Excel, has gained 881.2k followers as of December 27, 2022 all providing tips and tricks on how to use Excel to help you save time. You can save any of her videos and when that challenge strikes that she talks about in her TikTok video, you can go to your saves to find the video and watch it to help you accomplish your task in seconds!
Additionally, the best TikTok creators know they need to inspire some sort of Call to Action in order to inspire activation. Therefore, they will ask viewers to perform the task and share how it worked for them… or share additional tips and tricks. They even ask their audience to perform the task and create a duet with the original video (a duet is showcasing the original creator’s video next to the new video the viewer created trying the task for themselves).
My favorite part about TikTok style videos is that it inspires and creates community. If you think about it – oftentimes we learn by crowdsourcing and asking others for their ideas to help. As a new mom, when I need help keeping my kids entertained on a snow day, I head to TikTok to find tips and inspiration.
How can we collaborate at work? Imagine all the things that you learned when you first started at your job that weren’t in the manual or part of your orientation, but that someone else told you or just things you learned as you spent more time in your new position. That knowledge stayed with you until you imparted it on someone else (if you did). By incorporating TikTok style videos and empowering your employees to become creators, they can share best practices in a virtual environment so that it goes beyond their close colleagues and team, but to those who are not as closely tied into a team.
Making TikTok a Part of your Learning Culture
But How? So at this point, you might be asking how can TikTok really be a part of your learning culture?
Here are few ways:
- If you’re catering content towards new hires, you can take viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the office, display what a typical day may look like using all the available office amenities, or even role play scenarios for understanding the need to know soft skills.
- These learning videos don’t always have to be about job functions. Want to have some fun? Create a series of TikTok style invites for your next company wide event! Maybe that’s the company Christmas party or the quarterly finance meeting that, while necessary, is always a little boring. Drum up excitement with an engaging, entertaining, and motivating TikTok teaser. Want to shout-out the sales team for going above and beyond last quarter? Create a shout-out celebration video!Bonus Tip: Use the TikTok principles to internally market your next training
- I bet you didn’t think about using TikTok style videos to market your internal learning was even possible, but it’s true. Creating a series of teaser videos inviting employees to your next company-wide training is a great way to actually make learners excited about what they are going to be learning rather than dreading the training. While the training may be required, sending an entertaining invitation is much more engaging and motivating than a simple email invitation that, let’s be honest, may just end up in their spam folder.
It Doesn’t Have to be TikTok
Wondering how you would even start adding these principles to your company culture? Here’s the good news; You have all the tools you currently need to create these videos! You just need a few simple things: your phone, TikTok or Instagram, maybe a SharePoint, Google slides, or really access to any platform that allows you to share videos internally.
I know for so many organizations, privacy and protecting intellectual property is a concern, but this doesn’t mean you have to host content on any public platform. You can host them on SharePoint, Slack, Yammer, or any other communication system you and your team may use.
So let’s be real here, using TikTok in your next training isn’t about using TikTok at all. It’s about applying the principles attached to these short, easy to digest videos to motivate and engage learners where there may be a lack of engagement. It’s about taking something that you may have sent out via a long form video via an email and reimagining how to disseminate that information.
If you’re looking to dive deeper into understanding what all the fuss with TikTok is about, this webinar is for you. We hope to see you there!
Written by Vanessa Alzate