Developing a Learning Culture

Why Instagram is Perfect for Learners with Commitment Issues

It shouldn’t be a surprise that your learners are busy. Between their work responsibilities, family life, and side hustles, they don’t have enough hours in the day as it is. The idea of a long training session (especially if it isn’t mandatory) can make even the most career-driving individual suffer from commitment issues.

But the very same learner who cries “Uncle!” when invited to a training meeting might be the same person who stops to watch cooking and makeup application tutorials when scrolling through Instagram. Why is a total commitment-phobe willing to engage on Instagram, but not in the conference room?

It comes down to the precarious balance between time and effort. Instagram videos are quick, digestible, and buildable, so they’re perfect for learners who don’t want to invest a significant amount of time and effort into learning a new skill or brushing up on a topic. Think of it as social microlearning. In fact, the very same social network you use for posting pictures of your adorable dog can become an excellent tutorial video delivery system.

Tutorials on the Fly

Even when compared to other social networks–think Facebook and Twitter–Instagram is a fairly non-committal medium. Users can simply scroll through pictures and even better, videos play automatically. Users can decide whether or not to engage via likes and comments, but still have the opportunity to experience a video as many times as they want.

Consider this in a training context: You want to teach a new technique or show off the features of a new piece of equipment. Sure, you only have 15 seconds to work with, but it’s enough to create a highlight reel. When scrolling through their Instagram feeds, learners automatically experience the material through autoplay, which loops continuously until the learner scrolls away. A 15-second video might just be enough to capture interest.

Quick tutorials are completely, which means you can break several tutorials into a few different videos. Users can watch the first video again and again until they’re comfortable enough with the material to move onto the next video–no pressure. For behavior-based learning, it’s a quick way to create a knowledge base, even if a learner doesn’t want to commit to a full session, a longer video, or a comprehensive guide.


Instagram has one of the highest interaction rates among social media networks: Forrester compiled three million user interactions and found that the Instagram boasts an impressive 4.21 percent rate of user engagement (likes and comments) versus Facebook’s .07 percent.

Take advantage of the willingness that Instagram users have to like, comment, and engage with brands. Learners who would hang out at the back of a classroom might be more likely to speak up in a digital space. When he or she makes a comment, make sure to comment back and use Instagram as an open and low-risk forum for learners (or elearners for that matter) to ask questions and score feedback.

Social networks are ideal for connecting with learners, but it’s not just about who is following whom. Using Instagram as a low-risk method for learning can help even foot-dragging learners experience the most important, skills-based material without making a significant time or effort commitment. Hey, the right Instagram videos might take an “It’s Complicated” relationship into a full-fledged marriage of minds.