February 23, 2024

TikTok-Inspired Training: Unlocking Employee Engagement


TikTok used to be a playground for dance challenges and quirky lip-syncing. But over recent years, it’s moved into the classroom, too. Far from being a fleeting trend, TikTok has evolved to be a thriving learning hub where users don’t just scroll for laughs. They actively seek out nuggets of knowledge and wisdom.

From acquiring new skills to unraveling the mysteries of the universe, TikTok has redefined the way people learn. And it’s become a virtual treasure trove of enlightening content.

Trainers need to notice this. TikTok becoming popular shows that traditional training needs a dose of pizzazz to get learners involved. Today, it’s more than necessary to bring in the lively and short style of TikTok-inspired training and transform dull training sessions into captivating journeys of discovery.

TikTok-inspired corporate training: A game-changer for employee engagement

Designing training courses–the TikTok way

TikTok’s magnetic pull lies in blending fun and knowledge through digestible snippets. The principles that make TikTok videos successful hold valuable lessons for employee training.

Let’s explore in detail what makes TikTok a powerful learning tool. And see how it’s possible to integrate these elements into training courses.

1. Crafting a captivating hook

In the fast-paced world of TikTok, the next video is just a “swipe-up” away. And the first 3 to 5 seconds are key in determining viewer engagement.

Translating this to workplace training, instructional designers face a parallel challenge. How can you capture participants’ attention from the start? Analytics akin to TikTok’s watch time curve become invaluable tools, as they reveal patterns of disengagement and insights to enhance content and maintain learner interest.

The answer is to create an engaging and dynamic opening that sparks curiosity. Begin with a thought-provoking question, a relevant anecdote, or a captivating visual that relates to the training topic. Establish a clear purpose. And highlight the practical benefits of the session, so that learners understand the value they’ll gain.

Once established, use interactive elements (for example, discussion boards and hands-on activities) to keep interest levels high. By connecting the corporate training content to real-world scenarios, you make the course relatable. And by promoting active participation, learners become more engaged, receptive, and enthusiastic about the learning experience.

Pro tip: Here’s where analytics like TikTok’s watch time curve become invaluable tools. Use them to pinpoint patterns of disengagement and gather other insights. With this information, you can enhance content and maintain learner interest.

2. Using dynamic text

TikTok’s use of dynamic, on-screen text goes beyond accessibility. It actively contributes to increased engagement. In the corporate training world, adopting this practice not only caters to diverse learning needs but also boosts comprehension. By providing textual cues and visual aids, instructional designers can replicate the immersive experience that makes TikTok content so engaging. For example:

  • Apply bolding, highlighting, or color-coding to emphasize key points. This makes the learning material more visually stimulating.
  • Integrate dynamic text in presentations by using animated text transitions.
  • Use interactive training platforms that allow participants to manipulate and engage with the text directly. For example, encourage learners to fill in the blanks, complete sentences, or respond to prompts in real-time.
  • In eLearning videos, employ dynamic text through on-screen graphics, subtitles, and animated overlays. This emphasizes key information, guides attention, boosts retention, and enhances overall engagement for a more impactful and interactive learning experience.

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3. Adding a human touch to training with voiceover

Yes, text plays a vital role. But TikTok’s success in educational content suggests that voiceovers, complemented by subtle background music, significantly enhance engagement. Voiceovers allow for a seamless narration of complex concepts, offering additional context and clarification. They add a human touch to training videos, making them more relatable and immersive. They also make learning more memorable and impactful.

To successfully implement voiceover in employee training, focus first on tone and pace. This should be tailored to maintain the audience’s interest and make corporate training more accessible to individuals with varying learning preferences.

Voiceovers are particularly effective in tutorial videos, eLearning modules, and presentations.

4. Reflecting human attention spans with snappy editing

Fast-cut editing on TikTok ensures a snappy rhythm, aligning with the need for concise and interest-grabbing content. It resonates with modern learning habits. And it mirrors the natural ebb and flow of human attention spans.

In employee training, this technique keeps learners engaged. It also boosts knowledge absorption and retention while dealing with diminishing attention spans.

How to achieve that?

  • Break down information into digestible chunks, using concise visuals, graphics, and animations to convey key points swiftly
  • Implement rapid transitions between topics and add visual tricks and engaging elements (quizzes and interactive activities) to maintain learner focus
  • Eliminate pauses and trim unnecessary details and repetition to keep training on point

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5. Connecting through the power of faces

The most popular and successful TikTok creators aren’t afraid to show their faces on video. But why? They do that to create a personal connection with their audience. Facial expressions convey emotions, enthusiasm, and sincerity. All of these positively impact the perception of the content.

Use this approach to employee training by encouraging instructors to appear in videos. This visual connection adds a human element to training. And fosters a more connected, memorable, and personalized learning experience. It also establishes familiarity, trust, and openness. All of which are essential for effective learning.

6. Rethinking duration in corporate training

At first, TikTok’s emphasis was on short-form content. However, longer videos have gained popularity on the platform. This challenges the notion that brevity is always key. And is good news for workplace training. Extended sessions represent an opportunity to delve into more complex topics. But it’s important to retain a captivating narrative.

So how do you keep levels of engagement and focus high?

  • Break down the material into well-defined sections with clear objectives
  • Keep the content varied and interesting by adding a mix of visuals, real-world examples, case studies, and interactive elements
  • Add recaps to reinforce key points and boost knowledge retention

7. Embracing TikTok’s format: From POV to hands-on learning

TikTok’s engaging format allows viewers to see life through someone else’s eyes. In training videos, this translates to adopting a POV approach. Meaning, showcasing behind-the-scenes perspectives or incorporating interactive scenarios or hands-on demonstrations.

Through such elements, training videos become immersive learning experiences that educate and captivate learners. And ensure that employees retain and can apply the knowledge gained.

Pro tip: Consider adding video segments into onboarding training modules. For example, why not take learners on a virtual tour of your workplace? Or demonstrate some of your day-to-day operations or processes?

Making your TikTok-inspired training a success

The principles behind TikTok videos lend themselves to effective and engaging employee training.

Eri Panselina, Senior PR & Comms Associate at Epignosis and travel TikToker, shares the following tips to consider if you want to make your training shine.

Create compelling content

“If you don’t have great content, just acing the technicalities won’t cut it (pun intended.)” Eri says. Carefully examine what your audience wants to learn. Whether it’s the unexpected, the relevant, or your unique perspective on a trending topic. Offer content that sparks curiosity, prompts critical thinking, and encourages active engagement rather than passive absorption.

And deliver it all as a story. As Karl Kapp suggests in TalentLMS’ podcast series “Keep It Simple: Ep.3, Power Up Training with Interactive Content Design”:

“People learn and retain facts better in a story than in a bulleted list. Stories create multiple pathways. They create a visceral feeling, factual knowledge, and sometimes evoke other senses like smell or taste. Of course, storytelling is not the best thing to use in all cases, but if we want people to learn how to treat customers correctly, or how to work with peers, then stories become a really powerful driver. Plus, stories are a big element of gamification.”

Define your niche

Eri believes it’s crucial to get to know your audience before it gets to know you. Explore and understand their preferences and expectations. Then tailor your training content to address what they want to know but haven’t discovered yet.

The more focused and targeted your content to your audience, the better. And this extends to the language you use. For example, using plain language maximizes accessibility and keeps learners motivated and engaged. Or, transitioning from English to the native language of your audience. This is why an LMS with multilingual features could make training a great success.

Engage with your learner (community)

Your content might be impeccable. Your niche may be super-defined. But if you ignore your learners, they won’t feel part of a community. And effectiveness and engagement will take a hit.

On TikTok, building a learner community hinges on acknowledging feedback and comments, according to Eri. Yes, incoming comments help with the platform’s algorithm. But replying to those comments builds positive relationships. Plus, the feedback can be used to improve content.

When it comes to employee training, the same principle applies. So invest in getting feedback from your learners. Run surveys, ask for post-training feedback on email or plan group or 1:1 discussions. And then tweak your corporate training content (or delivery methods) based on the insights you receive.

Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities

Fear not the occasional misstep.

Mispronouncing words, giving wrong advice, or hacks that simply don’t work. Some of the most highly-viewed TikTok videos have a form of failure to thank for their success.

True, content creators may be initially disheartened by their mistake/s. But most are quick to see this is a blessing in disguise, Eri claims. That’s because, the more viewers rush in to correct their mistakes, the happier the TikTok algorithm becomes.

How does this translate to TikTok-inspired training? Intentional mistakes aren’t recommended, of course. But if they occur, embrace them. Use them as an opportunity to draw learners in by creating discussions and debates.

And allow learners to make their own (safe) mistakes, too. Karl mentions that individuals should undergo training in secure and interactive settings. This way they can make mistakes and learn from them away from higher risk environments. For example, while interacting with customers, handling products, and collaborating with colleagues.

When TikTok and workplace training don’t make a good match

TikTok-inspired training methods bring a fresh perspective to the learning landscape. They emphasize brevity, creativity, and, most importantly, user engagement. However, there are limitations.

  • Content suitability: Sometimes, TikTok-inspired training may struggle to convey complex or nuanced information effectively due to its prescriptive format. Traditional training allows for more comprehensive coverage of intricate subjects (for example, financial engineering, linguistics, and biology). Thus ensuring a deeper understanding and retention of essential concepts.
  • Learning styles: People have diverse learning styles. While some may benefit from the fast-paced visual nature of TikTok-inspired content, others may prefer more traditional methods. For example, in-depth lectures, hands-on activities, or group discussions.
  • Interactivity and practice: Traditional training often incorporates interactive elements and practical activities. These offer learners the opportunity for hands-on experiences and skill development. While TikTok-inspired training can be engaging, it may not always provide the same level of interactive learning. As a result, it might hinder the application of knowledge in real-world scenarios.
  • Adaptability to industries: Certain industries or professions may demand a more structured and in-depth training approach. Making traditional methods a better fit. Fields with complex regulations, strict safety protocols, or technical requirements may find that TikTok-inspired training lacks the depth needed to ensure compliance and proficiency.

Strike the right note: Balancing TikTok-inspired training with learner-centric principles

TikTok’s success lies in its people-centric approach. It aligns with users’ preferences for short-form content, their limited attention spans, and their appetite for acquiring knowledge in a lively and entertaining manner.

Similarly, the effectiveness of workplace training lies in prioritizing the learner. By understanding and accommodating individual learning styles, preferences, and the need for engaging relevant content, organizations can create corporate training programs that resonate with employees.

TikTok has mastered the art of capturing and holding attention. And workplace training puts learners first to achieve success in a dynamic, adaptable, and learner-centric environment. By blending these two worlds, organizations can ensure that the pursuit of knowledge becomes informative, enjoyable, and impactful for participants.



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