Over a billion people globally use TikTok. Its huge popularity, and content shared, can teach us a lot about how eLearning must develop to appeal to future audiences. Snappy, informal educational content will be part of the future L&D ecosystem.
According to recent research young people aged 4 to 18 spend an average of 91 minutes per day watching TikTok videos. And it’s reported that 25% of US TikTok users use the platform for educational purposes. 69% of those say they have already used it to help with homework.
These young people are the future workforce and imagine the potential for job performance if employees engaged with training content to even half the extent many engage with TikTok. L&D has been shifting towards microlearning and TikTok is showing us new and exciting ways to do it.
TikTok isn’t currently a viable platform for corporate learning due to privacy and security concerns, but the lessons it can teach us about creating engaging and easily digestible learning content are huge.
Short and Social
Gen Z is said to have an attention span of just 8 seconds and that explains the appeal of TikTok. With such a short attention window to capture a learner's attention, the videos get straight to the point, completely forgoing lengthy introductions.
We know that adult learners tend to dislike theory and appreciate content that is immediately useful. This expectation will only grow and TikTok is showing us that we can let go of explaining the "why" and get directly to the "how."
The videos are also usually informal. Content creators produce relatable and authentic short videos to communicate their message. Viewers are kept engaged through music, inside jokes, and fun challenges. All of these are aspects that corporate eLearning content can emulate. And it could also be a two-way street with learners interacting directly with trainers and connecting socially.
Power to the People
It’s convenient, fast, and easy to create and upload content to TikTok that could inspire a new style of democratized corporate training fueled by peer-to-peer teaching.
With the right tools and guidance, employees could become content creators, sharing their experiences, perspectives, and approaches. This type of inclusive idea-sharing fuels innovation, builds culture, and shows employee value and appreciation. Of course, it isn't feasible across all industries and subject areas, but this content delivery style could be a fun and effective addition to more traditional ways.
Using their experience, colleagues could teach each other and share their knowledge in easily consumed chunks of micro-learning. Training could happen wherever, and whenever needed. The training experiences could also be gamified for added engagement. TikTok has gamification features embedded and future eLearning platforms could do the same.
All this would be invigorating to workplace culture and stimulate individual professional development. Imagine a time when your workplace learning comes from a colleague in just seconds, via video. This democratized, immediate style of content also makes it possible for employees to learn from colleagues in their own country, speaking their native language, and that’s important for an increasingly global workforce.
Popular and effective lessons could even go viral within an organization. Training platforms could provide immediate feedback, and appreciation, and bring people together within a business.
We need to adapt. The people of today, who make up the audience of TikTok, are tomorrow’s workforce. They will expect eLearning content in forms and styles they are comfortable with.
That could mean emulating TikTok in the design of microlearning content, or democratizing content creation to empower learners and teachers. Some curricula will remain more formal and structured, but there will be a growing demand for rapid and ongoing content that connects us socially and works for everyone, everywhere.