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Community Participant

Building A Gamified Professional Development Experience for Educators in Canvas

Hey folks!

Over the past five years, I've implemented a teacher professional development program in my K-12 School District called EPIC Academy.  EPIC leverages a gamified approach to learning that is self-paced, mastery-driven, and job-embedded.  Learning is designed around an approach known as quest-based learning.  Here's the website for our district program -

Throughout the program I've used a web-based tool called Rezzly to manage the gamification of the learning.  Rezzly creates a choice-driven, branching of learning quests, allowing the player/learner to chart a course through the learning content pursuing goals meaningful to them.  Along the way, in calculates experience points, keeping a total, ranks (that are determined by experience points), awards badges for completing various criteria, and allows me, as the teacher to determine whether or not I wish to check the users work.

Over time, I and teachers in my district have created learning quests (mini lessons) leading to over 35 badges in digital learning.  Mostly tool-based, they focus on things like Twitter for Education, FlipGrid, YouTube, etc., but also address concepts like SAMR and best practices.

About a month ago, I received notice that Rezzly is shutting down on August 31st.

I am now trying to replicate the program in Canvas.  I'm set up with Badgr and think it will work fine to support the badges themselves.

Here are some things I could use the community's input on:

  • Self-graded Experiences - EPIC awards XP for completion of quests.  Many of these are honor system with no need to check submissions.  For example, Use Twitter Search to find resources for your classroom and share them in a discussion post.  This may take a novice user 30 minutes, so we award 50 XP.  (100 = 1 hour).  How can I replicate this self-point-awarding system?
  • Total Point System - There is no end to EPIC.  Teachers work at their own pace, complete quests and earn XP and badges.  How can I replicate a total point system in Canvas?   Some of my users have accumulated 30,000+ points in the past five years.
  • Branching Quests with Unlocks and Prerequisites - The best part of Rezzly is the branching nature of quests.  Sometimes, we give players options.  Once one quest is successfully completed, another opens up.  Sometimes two and you must complete both to move on.  Sometimes you can choose one or the other.  I know some of this can be replicated with Modules, but are there any options within modules?
  • Submission of Artifacts - At the end of a series of quests, teachers usually have to implement the tool in their classroom, capturing images/video of the lesson, sharing student work samples, or similar evidence.  They also typically complete a reflection about the experience.  With Rezzly, I used to link to our former LMS (PowerSchool Learning) and the evidence was usually shared as part of a discussion post.  For these culminating quests, I would check to make sure they satisfied the requirements and then the badge would be automatically awarded upon my approval.  Would discussions work best here?

Anyone doing work in this area?  Tackling the same challenges?  Any insights would be greatly appreciated!



1 Reply
Community Member

Hi Gillespiel1: 

I love the approach you described for your professional development!

Using Badgr with Canvas Quizzes, along with Module Completion requirements will be helpful in achieving something similar to the self-graded experiences you described above. 

Regarding the self-grading experiences, I have used Canvas graded quizzes to allow users to "claim" a certain number of optional points.

Each optional activity is its own question in the quiz, such as: "Did you use Twitter Search to find resources to share with your class?" The user then selects an answer choice, "Yes," and gets awarded a point, or "No," and gets 0 points for that specific question/activity.

You would still have to set a minimum score the user would have to get on the graded quiz before the user could claim a badge with Badgr, though. But if you set the quiz with "unlimited number of attempts" and only record the highest score, the user could return to resubmit the quiz anytime they complete an additional activity. So, if a user gets, say, 5 points out of 10 on the self-grading activities quiz, meaning they completed 5 out of the 10 optional activities, they could claim the corresponding badge in Badgr. You could of course set the score requirement as low or as high as you would like, so long as they complete and submit the "quiz."