With the popularity of TikTok growing in the past couple of years, Natasya Saat, Assistant Professor from Heriot-Watt Global College Malaysia, provides her view of using TikTok as a teaching and learning tool in her subject of Accounting. She also explores how the platform can be used for other subjects in their teaching and learning provision.
Times Have Changed
Who says we cannot incorporate entertainment in teaching and learning? In this modern age, we have various online platforms or apps that make teaching and learning more appealing such as Open Learning, LinkedIn Learning and others. TikTok on the other hand is no exception. TikTok is a popular app which is a personalised video feed featuring music in the background and posted by users with a duration between 15 seconds to ten minutes. It allows the users to create, watch and share the videos. Most of the contents include pranks, stunts, tricks and dance. According to Omar & Dequan (2020), TikTok is a well-known platform where people post creative contents and provides entertaining material. However, it has recently been known to be a great platform to educate users, delivering information and engaging users in just a few seconds. Lately, TikTok has been used as an educational tool by professionals in various fields. My favourite would be @docamen, a psychiatrist who shares knowledge on mental health. He has 1.8m followers. Another famous TikTok user is @aissaamri, an expert in Microsoft Excel. This China-originated app is widespread among Generation Z and this gave me the idea to use TikTok in teaching accounting subject. Accounting is seen to be a dry and boring subject by some students. According to Azman et al (2021), “TikTok helps students to improve knowledge and skills with existing knowledge”. So, hopefully by incorporating TikTok as a teaching tool, students will be enticed to learn accounting.
Experimenting With TikTok
In the past two semesters, I have produced TikTok videos which are available in this link https://www.tiktok.com/@syasaat and incorporated them into my online learning platform. The duration of the videos is less than a minute which highlights key points and concepts from a lesson. In total, eight videos were uploaded, four in Semester 1 and four in Semester 2. Some of the topics included are Basic Accounting Equation, Depreciation and Limited Company Accounts. The videos were created using designs from Canva and contents were keyed in. Popular songs were then selected.
At the end of the two semesters, a survey was conducted and most of the feedback were very positive. There were 56 respondents and about 80% of them found them useful and felt that they should be used as a teaching material. Some of them commented that they enjoyed TikTok videos as the topics were summarised and easy to understand. Some felt it is a fun and interesting way of learning and grabbing students’ attention. However, a few students felt that the duration was too short to include all information and explanations were not in-depth.
Students tend to watch the video on repeat as they enjoyed listening to the music. Around 70% of the students noticed that the songs were helpful in recalling the video contents. There was a study conducted by Petr Janata (2013) that uncovers music, memory, and emotions are strongly connected. His study found that music serves as a strong trigger for retrieving memories. Students commented that it is easier to recall concepts that have been attached to music. A student stated that the songs helped to keep them interested to watch the video. However, there were two respondents who felt that the process of choosing a song is vital, as it could be distracting for them to focus on the contents.
Overall, about 75% of the respondents enjoyed watching the TikTok videos as they felt that the contents were easy to digest, short and easy to remember. Also, the videos were entertaining and enjoyable.
These are four tips in creating the TikTok videos:
- Select suitable contents to be highlighted.
- Choose the type of video to produce e.g. Talking to the camera, Text on the screen.
- Choose trending songs popular amongst youngsters.
- Duration 1-3 minutes.
As much as TikTok has been seemingly helpful for educational purposes in the conducted survey, I personally feel that TikTok videos alone are not enough to deliver the content and to ensure students understand the topics better. Materials such as lecture notes, tutorial questions and explanation videos are more significant as they are the main teaching material. TikTok videos should only be an additional teaching tool used to summarise the contents and for students’ engagement.
Nonetheless, there is no harm in trying as it may benefit the students. Hence, let’s embrace the online platform in hopes that learning takes place.
Azman, A. N. et al (2021) Acceptance of TikTok on the Youth towards Education Development, Borneo International Journal, Vol. 4 (3); 2021; 19-25.
Petr Janata (2013) ‘Strong Musical Experiences and the Brain’ [PowerPoint presentation]. Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&context= music_mind_medicine (Accessed: 21 November 2022).
Omar, B., & Dequan, W. (2020) Watch, Share or Create: The Influence of Personality Traits and User Motivation on TikTok Mobile Video Usage, International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM), 14(04), pp. 121–137.