The Muuvit Programme
Edition of the Games: 1952 Olympic Summer Games
Description of the Project
Muuvit is an educational tool that motivates young primary school students to participate in physical activity in exchange for virtual rewards.
The Muuvit story began in Helsinki, Finland in 2000 with support from the Finnish Sports Confederation, the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry for Education. The concept was developed as an effort to use technology and the spirit of adventure to attract and inspire young children to become more physically active. This was in response to increasing concerns about childhood obesity and health concerns linked to inactivity, particularly in urban areas.
The online platform allows teachers and educators to register their groups for free and access a range of educational and fun resources for use in the classroom. Virtual mileage is clocked up by the children based on their level of physical activity in school and at home. 10 minutes of physical activity earns 1 point per child. This is recorded by children on their own personal activity card and is also added to the class account and recorded on a group basis.
Mileage points earned can be redeemed using the online platform in the classroom. The teacher can then use the graphically rich interactive tool to bring children on an educational adventure around the World, learning interesting content about the places they visit. To move forward in the virtual adventure, the group must continually earn more mileage points by doing physical activities inside and outside the class. Rewards are always fun and include interactive maps, stimulating games and virtual tours of cities, for example.
The Muuvit programme has seen remarkable success and has grown from its roots in Helsinki, across Finland and now internationally. By to date, the programme has expanded into the USA, Brazil, Uruguay, Ukraine, Germany, Switzerland and Poland. Approximately 3 million children globally have been inspired to become more physically active as a result of Muuvit.
Promote a healthy and active lifestyle
Muuvit uses an innovative and fresh approach to get kids active and moving on a regular, structured basis. This is in direct response to increasing sedentary and inactive lifestyles within the local communities where Muuvit is active. This worrying trend is particularly noticeable within the youth population but also affects adults to a significant degree. Through the targeting of youth but also the continued involvement of parents and teachers, Muuvit helps to directly address this issue and promote a healthier future for the population at large.
Promote social and constructive behaviour
The Muuvit programme is built upon a system of incentives that motivates youth for positive and constructive behaviour. There is a clear link between the level of engagement of participants and the level of reward received. This is applied both on an individual student and class group level which taps into both personal and interpersonal development. This positive reinforcement helps to instil a sense of self-discipline into participants, teaching them that a strong work ethic and continued commitment results in long-term gain.
The online platform allows for easy statistical evaluation of the programme. The programme organisers and cities review static data and trends on a regular basis to assess the success and growth of the programme. This includes analysing the number of children enrolled, usage behaviour of teachers and trends in the level of physical activity being recorded for example.
The replication of Muuvit and its adaptation to diverse situations and countries all over the world are key indicators in assessing the success of the product and the achievements of replicability and adaptability.
Adapting to teaching styles
One of the key challenges is being innovative but remaining adaptable to varying needs and styles of different teachers. Some teachers may be more open to creative teaching methods and integrating technology into their curriculum. Others prefer more traditional methods and this can present difficulties. This can make success between schools and even class groups difficult to reconcile.
The programme aims to combat this by placing a large emphasis on communicating the benefits and the added value that the tool brings not only to children, but to teachers as well.
Making physical activity a learning priority
There is still a significant level of resistance to the idea that physical activity is an effective and useful learning medium and that physical education should be a central part of a child’s learning curriculum. This is despite the fact that there is conclusive proof that physically active children perform better academically on average.
Muuvit is constantly engaged with teachers’ unions as well as the local educational authority to help generate buy in and change this outlook. This approach has proven very successful but it can still take time to change deep-rooted attitudes.
Key Learnings & Recommendations
Partner for success
Initiatives such as Muuvit do not enjoy such rapid growth and success without the help and support of other like-minded organisations. This is why working closely with carefully selected partners is absolutely critical. Muuvit has developed valuable partnerships in every territory, covering various city departments, local NGOs and a host of teachers’ unions and other stakeholder groups in the educational field. Partnerships between cities themselves has also helped to fuel the geographical expansion of the programme immensely.
Engage with social media
Technology is at the heart of the Muuvit offering. The development of social media and widespread connectivity has contributed enormously to the rapid growth of the programme all over the world. Participants in the programme are now easily able to share their experiences within their own communities as well as with other kids from different cities all over the world.
Be flexible to local conditions
The success in replicating the Muuvit programme outside cities in Finland to different countries and continents is a result of a very flexible and adaptable methodology. Local ownership of the programme in the various cities is prioritised. The programme has also been designed to complement or enhance existing programmes that support this approach.
The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal.
In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details.
The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional resources can be found through the following links: