• April 02, 2015

Phenomenon-Based Learning with Experience API (xAPI)

The traditional way of learning has started to go through some major reforms. This is happening in both education and in enterprises. Instead, traditional course-based learning where users are memorizing ready-given information, today more emphasis is put on finding, understanding and applying information in practice in real-world scenarios.

Phenomenon-based learning

The education system in Finland is said to be one of the best in the world. Yet, last week e.g. Huffington post and Independent wrote about the upcoming educational changes in Finland. Then what is it that has resulted in this transition? The changes are related to a phenomenon-based learning, which as a topic has raised a lot of global discussions recently.

The ideology of phenomenon-based learning is to bring learning and teaching closer to practice, rather than focusing on single, disconnected subjects that do not relate to everyday life, or to each other, at all. In the phenomenon-based learning, the learners are taught broader topics instead of subjects. The topics can be related to any real-life events, which may help the learner in applying the novel know-how better in modern society.

Phenomenon-based learning in online education and learning

Valamis is at the forefront of applying the phenomenon-based learning in online education. Valamis offers a platform for phenomenon-based learning in online learning and implements it into a modular and flexible environment using Experience API (xAPI) and Learning Record Store (LRS). In Valamis, the learners approach learning in a form of a story, which is related to real-life working scenarios. While going through the story, the learners themselves do not necessarily recognize which subject each topic of the story is covering. They can e.g. cover subjects such as physics, mathematics, and finance within a form of a story about buying a car.

In Valamis the learners are not given any particular order for approaching the phenomenon-based learning story. Instead, the learners can proceed in the story depending on which order they find the most interesting for themselves. Always when the learners finish a task, they receive an automated evaluation as well as an evaluation from their teacher. Also, the learners are given a chance for self-evaluation. All the data is saved into a Learning Record Store and the final feedback is formed on the basis of all the recorded data.

Measuring the impact of phenomenon-based learning

Receiving constructive feedback is a crucial part of learning and development process. Without feedback, it is impossible to process and evaluate what has been learned. At the moment, one of the major issues with the phenomenon-based learning is the difficulty of receiving trustworthy analytics of the learning processes. Valamis offers powerful Learning Analytics engine for phenomenon-based learning using the Valamis Learning Record Store. The analytics engine provides a special advantage e.g. when evaluating which sections of the studies should be improved or in which areas particularly the learners need more guidance.

Experience API allows tracking the atomic learner experiences and interactions into Learning Record Store. Phenomenon-based learning model creates a structure and solid foundation for this information. The Experience API gives organizations powerful tools for analyzing the impact of learning and organization capabilities. By combining xAPI with Valamis, it is possible to receive accurate analytics of the phenomenon-based learning process of individuals as well as of the group of learners. The analytics are in a form of an exquisite concept map, which enables the visual analysis of the learning challenges. The received analytics imply clearly which parts of the study content needs to be improved for future learners.


Valamis is Open Source. At the moment the Valamis Learning Experience Solution is being used in different types of learning environments from massive online courses into large-scale enterprise learning and capability management. The Valamis Learning Experience Solution is device independent working fully on tablets and in mobile.

Does your organization apply learning analytics and measure effectiveness of learning? Why don't you get in touch to request a demo or to discuss the ways Valamis Learning Experience Solution can accelerate capability of your organization?

Contact information:

Janne Hietala
CCO Chief Commercial Officer
+358 40 831 4245