Motivation and engagement: eLearning training at the time of TikTok

What has changed in recent years in the way users enjoy content and what consequences does the “TikTok generation” have on maintaining motivation and engagement in eLearning training?


Characteristics of the “TikTok generation”

In the very first article of this blog in September 2019 we talked about digital natives and reduced attention span, citing the famous Microsoft Canada attention study that compared humans to goldfish. In the meantime, two years of a global pandemic and several technological evolutions later, we can say with certainty that the idea of ​​digital natives is outdated, and yet some of the assumptions linked to it not only remain valid, but are even stronger than before.
If someone does not yet know TikTok, let’s start by saying that it is an entertainment application born in 2016 in China, but which had its successful boom in 2020, initially especially among the very young thanks to fast and “without obligation” use of video content produced by users. Returning to the concept of instant gratification mentioned in relation to the Microsoft study, it becomes clear that this is even more important in a context in which the user does nothing but see short and hyper-stimulating content (thanks to the presence of music and images) scrolling, chosen for him by an artificial intelligence algorithm capable of perfectly reconstructing the personas. So what are the characteristics of the “TikTok generation” to consider when talking about eLearning? Surely the very poor ability to concentrate, the need for continuous stimuli and above all that embrace different senses (sight and hearing in the first place), the hunger for novelty and at the same time the extreme speed in overcoming them and wanting new ones.


Motivation and engagement in eLearning training today

In this context in which people are profoundly transformed in their habits, there can only be heavy consequences also on training and especially eLearning, which shares the digital medium and multimedia with social networks.
It is worth underlining that motivation and engagement are not at all marginal aspects for the success of learning, and that therefore adapting teaching to the characteristics of the users is fundamental to guarantee the return on investment in training projects.
What does this mean in practice? Let’s see some applicable strategies.

From form to content

The first point to keep in mind concerns the need to shift the focus from form, digital to be precise, to content and training strategy. If the first months of the pandemic forced all organizations to turn hastily to online, today eLearning is once again a free choice, albeit somewhat facilitated by the “human transformation” (rather than digital) of recent years. By now, when we all understand the concepts of “webinar“, “asynchronous training“, “LMS” and so on, the medium can return to having the simple role of passing contents, on which the trainer’s attention is in fact concentrated.

Coaching and behavior modification

So what changes in terms of educational content? Certainly the transition from a training on “know” to a much more focused on “know-how” and “know-how-to-be”, with a push towards humanization of teaching that no longer aims to teach something, but above all to change the behavior of users. Thus, on the one hand, the transition from training to coaching takes place, on the other a necessary change also in the assessment, which is no longer focused only on the contents learned or on the time spent in the classroom, but moves towards Kirkpatrick level III, that is the measurement of new behaviors developed following learning.

Micro-learning and varied multimedia content

Last but not least, the changes to teaching also involve the creation of eLearning content that helps to maintain high levels of motivation and engagement in users, through the use of cutting-edge strategies. The principle of micro-learning, i.e. the breakdown of the training message into small units, remains fundamental since it precisely recalls the ways of using content on social networks such as TikTok.
On the other hand, the multimedia content itself is transformed to keep up with the times: podcasts, gamification, 3D and immersive navigation, but also a more targeted use of different and combined stimuli of audio and images/video.


ELearning and TikTok: a possible challenge?

In conclusion, it is clear that at the time of TikTok even eLearning training must be transformed to keep pace with a profoundly different use of contents, if it wants to maintain its own effectiveness and guarantee a return on training investment, especially in the business environment. As far as we at Quiddis can say, it is certainly a possible challenge, even if it requires a good dose of changes and above all to rely on professional consultants. Contact us to find out how we can help you!



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