Combat Apathy, Increase Intrinsic Motivation, and Meet Students Where They’re At: Differentiated Learning Using Canvas MasteryPaths

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Brief Abstract

Use Canvas? You need MasteryPaths to make your course learner-centered, energizing, and personalized! Experience three differentiated learning paths that take you step-by-step through activities that allow you to imagine the possibilities in your own course, and then have access to videos that walk you through the details. 

Extended Abstract

Personalized learning can mean a lot of different things. In this session, examples of how to personalize your courses revolve around the effective use of MasteryPaths in the Canvas learning management system.  If you use Canvas, MasteryPaths can help you up your teaching and learning game and involve your audience on a whole new level. What exactly can you do with this tool?  Here are three specific examples: 

  1. Do you have diverse learners with different levels of preparation? Meet students where they’re at and differentiate learning in order to provide additional coaching and developmental steps for students who need it, while creating more challenging content and activities for those who are more advanced. Not only can this approach allow you to spend more time with students who want or need it, but it helps alleviate “teaching to the middle” syndrome. 

  1. Maybe you’re teaching a topic that allows for student choice in topics or assignments?  Develop students’ intrinsic motivation and enjoyment by creating student-driven pathways through the material, allowing different possibilities for those with diverse interests or skills. This is especially fun when there are far too many interesting case studies or types of assignments you want to include in a course; include more and just let the learners choose which ones they like!  This is also a great way to find out what students are most interested in... And when an individual chooses the content or type of assignment to complete, they have a lot more ownership over the result AND it can allow them to highlight their own talents. 

  1. Perhaps a more flexible schedule would allow more time when and where it’s needed, and streamline learning as right? Combat apathy and give student more control over when and how quickly they learn. Being able to control how fast to move through a course, even if there are set start and end dates, can ease stress on learners because they have more control about how quickly (or slowly) they move through the material. 

MasteryPaths can easily help you accomplish all three goals, and if you have the fire you can even do it in the same course. Sometimes we’re hesitant to try new things that might take time to setup, test, or have the potential to backfire... But this experience will walk you through step-by-step and allow you to experience activities in a way that allow you to imagine the possibilities in your own course. In this experience, get introduced to three different ways (assess student learning to provide scaffolded content, group students interested in different topics/assignments together, provide flexible learning schedules) to use this differentiated learning tool and then have access to videos that walk you through the details we all want when setting up our own course activities! Start small or go big: This is a great way to spice up the online learning environment. 

Sometimes it’s hard to find the support you need at your organization or online. This session is a truly engaging experience that allows an in depth look at how to create different types of effective learning experiences using MasteryPaths, and provides video resources and contacts you can use later when you’re in the middle of course design! In an example Canvas course, virtually explore three different topics as a participant. Once you enter this virtual session, you’ll self-enroll in the Canvas course while Introductions and Welcomes are completed by the facilitators. Help will be available via a “help” link/chat if you need assistance to enter the Canvas course.  

As the facilitators lead the session and the exploration of each type of MasteryPath, individuals act as the “student” and experience the variety of learning pathways that can be created in an online experience. Answer MasteryPath questions, blaze your own trail, and begin imagining the different ways YOU will engage YOUR learners. At the same time, you can participate in real time discussion surrounding the experience. You can even ask questions in the course discussion activities and get follow up after the session! When the experience is over, you’ll have access to more learning videos that teach step-by-step creation of the different types of MasteryPaths. 

Session Goals/Outcomes: 

  • Experience three separate ways to use MasteryPaths in a course  
  • Imagine the possibilities for your own online classes 

  • Gain access to step-by-step training videos for the three MasteryPaths uses 

  • Ignite enthusiasm for learning with individual choices and personalized pathways