Social Learning and Gamification in Business

How smartphone apps in the workplace can benefit businesses

Many Generation X and Gen Y employees – so called ‘digital natives’ – seem open to being recruited, selected, supported and developed through their employers’ use of smartphone social learning and gamification apps.  To older HR and L&D professionals, like some Oakwood Directors (naming no names!), this can seem like nonsensical gibberish.  

What is social learning?

Social learning here means using social network software like Facebook or LinkedIn (or in-company and intranet equivalents) to share knowledge between employees. 

What is gamification?

Gamification means using elements of computer or online game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play etc.) to make employees’ communication and learning within their organisation more engaging and productive.

The benefits to HR and professional development

The CIPD reports that Saudi Aramco has successfully developed a ‘My Future’ app, which is helping 4,300 millennial employees with their talent development and career opportunities (  This needs to be balanced against other CIPD reports that gamification is going the way of e-learning in the GCC:  a nice idea but one that few people actually take up (

So bearing in mind that the younger employees want it and the older employees may not understand it, what do HR and L&D functions need to do?
One place to start is a new research report published in British Psychological Society psychometrics journal Assessment & Development Matters (  This concludes that gamification apps are seen to be fair and valid tools by their Gen X and Y target users and that they can contribute positively to the brand image of the employers that develop and use them.

So that suggests that we older Oakwood Directors need to ‘get with the kids’ and with our more farsighted clients, and seriously explore the use and benefits of social learning and gamification apps.

But that’s just what we think.  We welcome dialogue with our partners, colleagues, students and other GCC stakeholders. 

How do you think organisations should use social learning and gamification apps? Comment below!

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