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Teaching Using Canvas: Canvas Mastery Paths

Mastery Path Overview

Canvas Tools – Mastery Paths

The Canvas Mastery Paths feature allows instructors to customize learning experiences to students based on student performance. MasteryPaths is based on differentiated assignments, an existing Canvas feature. Instructors and course designers can identify activities for each student’s learning path and differentiate assignments for required learning, optional learning, or choosing their own content and assignments within a specific path. All assignments and pages should be created before publishing course content to students.

Application of the Tool

  • Differentiate Instruction – When you can differentiate instruction especially in hybrid course, this allows students to move through each unit of instruction on their own timeline of learning without moving too fast or too slow.

NOTE: This is also useful if you are flipping course content, you have the ability to deliver the content at varying levels of rigor to get students prepared for when the content is covered in a live session – differentiated based on their learning needs. Using a knowledge and understanding pre-assessment you can guide students through the appropriate course content based on their understanding of the topic to be covered. 

  • Customize instruction (individualized) – Now that you can differentiate instruction you can customize assignments to match students’ needs based on their scores from previous assignments.
  • Offer Student Choice– Mastery paths allows instructor

 

Related Online Canvas Guides

Please Note: These guides are maintained by the Canvas Documentation Team and are available on the Canvas Community site. Some of the information in these guides may not apply to the UW-System (UW-Superior) instance of Canvas. If you have a question about a feature mentioned in these guides, please review Getting Help page for details on who to contact at the Canvas Support Team.

Getting Support from the CLIC

Once you have reviewed these resources and you interested in getting on an implementation plan, feel free to contact the Center for Learning, Innovation and Collaboration (CLIC) – we can work with you on the development and implementation of Mastery Paths in your course. Please reach out to our Instructional Support Team via this online form. We will respond as soon as possible or schedule a consultation appointment as needed.

Our instructional support form is also useful if you have questions about the larger Digital Learning Environment, including Kaltura and other integrated applications in Canvas.

Applying Mastery Paths in a Course

Mastery Paths for Differentiated Instruction


Why use Mastery Paths for differentiated instruction?

Advantages include but are not limited to the following:

  • Provide assignment options for varied learners
  • Explore and compare assignment effectiveness in your instruction
  • Improve student engagement with course content and student learning

Below you will find a collection of videos vetted for content supporting the use of Canvas Mastery Paths for Differentiated instruction. I have curated video content focused on use in higher education; however, some of the best demonstrations for the application of Mastery Paths have been produced for the K-12 audience – the demonstrations and examples easily transfer to most any educational level.

Canvas Mastery Paths – Video Source: ITCs 4 All YouTube Channel. Posted June 11, 2021 [8 minutes 10 seconds]

The video below provides a good overview of Canvas Mastery Paths with a focus on Differentiated Instruction and towards the end shows how this looks from the students perspective.

Lunch & Learn Series (The University of British Columbia) – December 4, 2020

Canvas Mastery Paths with Adrian Granchelli and Patricia Hingston (website source with more content (Links to an external site.))

Add a more personalized learning path to your course:  With Canvas Mastery Paths, you can allow for different instruction based upon how a student performs on an assignment. This can increase student choice and meet learners where they are. We will learn how-to implement mastery paths and discuss how it could be used.

Explore gamification: Mastery Paths can also be used to gate assignments – used in this way students can repeat a quiz an until they perfect it and only then are they allowed to progress to the next assignment.  Patricia will share her experience in utilizing Mastery Paths in this way.

NOTE: The presentation touches on using multiple paths and conditionally released content.

Mastery Paths for Customized Mastery Learning (Individualized)


If you are scaffolding course across the curriculum, you can review analytics on previous benchmark assignments to look for gaps in knowledge or skills for each student. Taking this knowledge and using the "Sections" tool you can isolate or group students from varying skill levels into cohort sections and direct those sections on unique learning Mastery Paths.

Below you will find a collection of videos vetted for content supporting the use of Canvas Mastery Paths for customized (individualized) mastery learning. I've tried to curate video content focused on use in higher education; however, some of the best demonstrations for the application of Mastery Paths have been produced for the K-12 audience – the demonstrations and examples easily transfer to most any educational level.

Mastering Mastery Paths - Canvas Q&A: Online Network of Educators, November 17, 2017 [26 minutes 32 seconds] 
Liezl Madrona describes how to create personalized learning tracks in Canvas using a new feature called "Mastery Paths."

NOTE: Do not let the Q&A in title stop you from viewing this video, there is much more here than Q&A.

Teacher Connect: Mastery Paths in Canvas – Jake French

Source: YouTube HCS DTL Channel – Posted February 8, 2021 [36 minutes 35 seconds]

Jake does a good job laying out the process for planning and setting up Mastery Paths during a recorded live presentation.