Isn’t it every kid’s dream to don a cape and save the world? How can we implement the element of the Hero’s Journey or Superhero Stages into educational games? How can we tap every kid’s ‘super power’ or, alternatively, bestow a ‘super power’ upon them?



Photo Credit:  Malabooboo via Compfight cc

Module 5 of my gamification MOOC looked at these questions and outlined how to use the structure of the hero’s journey or Superhero Stages (below) to create hero scenarios for learning.

Hero’s Journey / Superhero Stages

  • Common Day
  • Call to Adventure / Discover their superpower in small daily activities
  • Exraordinary Trials
  • Help from a Wise Mentor / Decision to use their powers daily OR Save them for the greater good
  • Achieving the Goal/Boon
  • Self-Knowledge Gained in the Process / Develop an ambiguous relationship with their powers and the responsibilities that come with them
  • Return to the Ordinary World
  • Application of the Boon

Students are encouraged to identify with the main character or hero in the metagame (such as a unit of study or cross-curricular challenge). The hero then faces trials in the form of puzzles, clues, tasks, and competitions (gamelets within the larger metagame). The reward or boon is the prize or intrinsic value of completing the mission.

Students can display special powers within small group tasks or classroom jobs. Each can be given a special role. They can obtain new powers by being given the new job (and a physical token ie. a hat), by completing a certain number of tasks, by trading up, by chance (roll/draw), or by being assigned by the gamemaster (teacher).

Kids are definitely motivated when they are the expert or the helper. Giving kids special roles within groups can help them take ownership of the task. When they can see themselves in these positive roles they are motivated to do amazing things!

This MOOC was initially run with a cohort of students well over a year ago and now remains online as a self-paced MOOC. In this module I took more advantage of checking back through the student chat area to get further explanation and more ideas of how to use the concepts. The chat offered reinforcement and also additional ways to think about the concepts. I would appreciate having that group of students to bounce ideas off and to be accountable to. I can see that when the cohort originally took the course, they posted their homework answers in the chat but no where in the self-paced version do you have to submit your work until the module quizzes. I think that learning with a cohort would be more valuable for me as it would help further my learning and provide more accountability for assessment purposes. 

  1. Sounds like an interesting MOOC – have you found stuff that you can take back into your classroom?
    Some suggestions – when you add the photo credit, make sure you are in “text” mode, not “visual” mode on your post. That way it will show up properly. Also, try to find other things that you can link in your posts – it helps to engage the reader. And think about ending with some questions to invite discussion.

    • mybrainstorm says:

      Thanks for reading Katia! Yes, I’ve found some interesting ideas to take back (concepts that need resource development but nonetheless useful.)
      Thanks for the photo credit tip….I played around but couldn’t get it to present as it was supposed to…and as you can see I still haven’t played around with my category page set-up! Too busy responding and writing!
      I am linking in information about the ideas I present, authors and have also linked to my own blogposts. Have yet to pingback to other students (mostly because there’s so many of us I can’t remember who wrote what I want to quote!) What other links can you suggest?
      Love the idea of ending with questions! Not getting a lot of feedback on the gamification posts!

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