Reeling in success

In our latest webcast, Attensi’s Head of Industry and Professional Services, Thomas Niven, met with Nick Sandall, for a stroll through a picturesque private estate on the River Kennet outside Newbury, a spot of fishing and a fascinating conversation.

Reeling in success: Redefining the approach to learning

Nick spent over 20 years at Deloitte as the head of FSI and a member of the Executive Board. He has led major sales across Europe for 20 years and actively led leadership development throughout that time. Through his passion for fishing, he discovered how large an impact the environment has on learning and, with co-founder Ben Bangham, created Piscaries.

In the webcast, we look at some of the current learning challenges facing organizations today, why they should be changing their approach to learning and development (L&D) to tackle these challenges, as well as how gamification, simulation and the environment in which you learn, can have a huge impact on your learning experience.

We urge everyone to check out the full video, but for those in a rush, here’s a little break-down of our insightful discussion.


Embracing the momentum: Thriving in the era of accelerating change

Technology is progressing at a frightening pace, with organizations struggling to keep up across many fronts. As Nick highlights, the greatest challenge this presents is the constant need to adapt by reskilling and upskilling employees. Not only is this key to the success of every organization, but equally to the satisfaction of employees.

The need for a different approach


“The old way isn’t good enough.”

Like Attensi, Nick is dedicated to changing how organizations view learning. Nick identifies a number of ways in which traditional learning doesn’t meet the requirements needed to face the challenges of the future.


Employees sit through hours of training that they have no active role in.

The result is a group who aren’t fully engaged in their learning experience. Simple attendance is the standard metric of success with no repetition of the content nor a chance to practice applying it.


Large scale organizations are full of learners from different backgrounds with different abilities and native languages. Being geographically dispersed, wanting to train at a time and place that suits learners and the desire to learn in one’s native language, are all equally valid factors that traditionally haven’t been seriously considered.


Traditional learning often means taking employees out of work which results in lost productivity.

The monetary and environmental cost of flying learners to a multi-day classroom workshop is something that should be questioned.

Gamification and simulation as solutions

It wouldn’t be an Attensi webcast if we didn’t talk about the use of gamification and simulation.

Gamification involves incorporating game mechanics into learning experiences. The game mechanics leverage knowledge of human psychology to emotionally grip learners, thus increasing engagement to drive repetition. Bite-sized learning, a key element of gamification, allows for incremental improvement, more effective knowledge transfer and ultimately helps learners better retain information.

Nick spoke admiringly of gamification’s impact on learning experiences.

“I was really struck watching some of your customers describe their experience where people keep going back to the same training because they want to do better… they’re gamified into wanting to do better because they started to enjoy it.”

Simulation is about creating a safe environment in which users can practice true-to-life scenarios. Users can make brave choices, without fear of negative consequences.

Nick sees the safety provided by simulation as more than just consequential, saying that the privacy it offers is just as powerful.

“You can have trust that you’re practicing with yourself. There’s no humiliation that you couldn’t cope with. You learn on your own. And if you need extra support, you can go and ask for it because you know you can’t move your score.”

Thomas Niven and Nick Sandall on a bridge over a river having a conversation

Nick also has huge praise for giving learners greater autonomy in where and when they learn and train. Making your programs available through a range of devices, including mobile phones, lets your users choose when they train and where.

“That’s powerful. There’s more agency in that process. There’s more personal connectivity to need and outcome. That is measurable.”

Both Attensi and Nick share a passion for changing how learning is viewed, and a big part of this is focused on changing the learning environment. The conventional perception that the classroom is the best, or the only way to learn is one they strive to transform. Through his own experiences, Nick acknowledges the pitfalls of the classroom environment.

“In a multilingual, multicultural world, how do you communicate? I certainly, as a teacher, have found it at times really hard to culturally adjust to all the people in the room”


Looking forward

“We’re experimenting with many different things, and most of the things we tried have come back with extraordinary results.”

It’s these extraordinary results that Nick is most excited by. He expresses his belief that we are very much at the beginning of the curve when it comes to changing L&D to make learning more engaging and impactful.

Where we go next, he says, has to be based on data. In the past, traditional learning has survived off perceived ‘benefits’ that weren’t really there. Technology has allowed for huge growth in our ability to measure how people learn, and those measurements should be the foundation of our next steps.


About Piscaries

Piscaries uses the peaceful and calming environment fishing provides as a platform for positive learning outcomes, using activities, metaphors and executive coaching to enhance the learning experience. Piscaries offers team offsite fishing events and river coaching in stunning locations.

Make sure you tune into the full webcast to hear the full wealth of wisdom Nick has to offer.

For more information about how you can implement Attensi’s gamified simulation training into your organization, book a demo today.

Get ready to level up your training

Listen some more

The future of fitness L&D with Tess Gorman and solidcore’s Sarah Kiernan

The ‘secret sauce’ to leadership in pharma

Stouts and simulations: Attensi on the Craft Brewery Podcast

The future of playable learning with Accenture