What can learning and development learn from the Norwegian winter olympic team?

The Norwegian olympic team are top of the medal table at the 2022 Beijing winter olympics. As a Norwegian company, we’re so proud to see these athletes achieving incredible things! Despite only 99 Norwegian athletes competing compared to America’s 223, the team are, for now, dominating the medals.

How are they doing it?

Norwegian athletes, Birk Ruud and Ferdinand Dahl summed it up pretty well:

“We’re a country with a lot of good genes and we work hard.”

Birk Ruud

“We have this term, that we’re born with skis on our feet. Fun is the fundamental drive. A lot of hard work, I think and a lot of fun and dedication — and skiing.”

Ferdinand Dahl

You might be wondering what your learning and development program and the Norwegian Olympic team have in common?

And it’s that there are a number of parallels between an elite athlete and your top performers in the workplace.

Here are just a few examples of how you can take some of the Norwegian Olympic team formula for success, and apply it to your learning and development in-house.

Practice and repetition are the foundation of success

You’ve heard the whole 10,000 hours theory, right? Well, the theory itself may have been debunked, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t  some truth in it. If you want to master any particular skill, there’s no denying that grit, determination, repetition and practice in a practical setting will improve your skills.

Olympians put in thousands of hours over their four year training cycles in the run up to the games. They will do the same routines, the same runs, the same intricate maneuvers again and again. Because the more they do it, the more it becomes muscle memory.  It simply becomes habitual.

At Attensi, we’ve made it our business to know a lot about the impact of repetition and its effect on training. We now know that if we train at something just once, we’ll probably have forgotten as much as 80% of the material after a month has gone by.

How then, do you encourage this vital repetition in the workplace? Regulation and compliance training may not quite provide the same adrenaline rush as a cross country sprint ski event.


Listen to Ferdinand and make it fun

We think Ferdinand Dahl touched on a key point here: Fun.

When you can add some healthy competition and fun into your training, you’ll often find it’s a lot easier to encourage your team to revisit scenarios more than once.

Gamified simulations are what we do at Attensi. They’re our cross country skiing. It’s what we put our thousands of hours into perfecting.

We apply gaming principles to dialogue and storytelling and realistic avatars. Suddenly, your team isn’t just sitting in a classroom anymore, they’re getting involved, making mistakes and chasing high leaderboard scores. All the while, they’re gaining that magic ingredient – confidence.

When you read that back – who’s to say whether you’re talking about your top salesperson or an Olympian?


Making mistakes is part of the journey

Mistakes. Challenges. Obstacles. We all have them. And they’re a critical part of any learning journey. They ultimately make us stronger and wiser. Any Olympic ice skater will tell you they’ve probably spent more time on their backside on the ice having fallen than they have running their program.

Sverre Lunde Pedersen knows this more than most. Just last May, he was involved in a nasty bicycle accident, sustaining a number of injuries. But what did he do? He turned up to practice in a neck brace and started again. His hard work ultimately paid off when he and his team mates took home the gold.

“The last six months have been good, but before that there was only one focus, to get well. I started at zero in August. Have had a good apparatus around me, and without a supportive family this would not have happened.”

Sverre Lunde Pedersen

Part of what makes gamified simulation training the success that it is, is the ability for players to make as many mistakes as they need before they can solve the problem in front of them. The best part? Zero real world consequences.

Particularly in areas such as healthcare or banking and finance where mistakes could have disastrous consequences, this is an extremely valuable tool.


Learn by doing

There’s only so long someone on a bobsleigh team can discuss the theory of bobsleigh. At some point, they just have to get in and see what happens. We apply the same principles to our simulation training.

It’s one thing to be able to tell a new recruit how to use a new piece of equipment, but if you can show them, it’s so much more impactful. You didn’t learn to read by someone telling you over and over again how to do it. Eventually, you had to pick up the book yourself and get going.

Whether you’re an elite athlete or the top of your game in the workplace, raw talent can only get a person so far. Work ethic, grit, determination, and practice have to play their parts too.

At Attensi, we’re passionate about bringing gamified simulation training solutions to organisations around the world. From retail and healthcare to manufacturing and professional services, we can all follow the same principles to improve our skills.

Top your very own medal table. To speak to one of our expert team about arranging a demo, get in touch with us now:

Are you ready to level up your training?

You might also be interested in

Bridging the generational gaps in hospitality training

Simulated Experience is the New Baseball Practice

What can we learn about L&D from pilot simulation training?

DEI – how can you stop ticking a box and start making an impact?