Active Learning In Virtual Environment/The Jigsaw Technique

Activity: #in-class/short-term, #group-work, #critical-thinking


The jigsaw technique is meant for collaborative learning in small groups. Students have a chance to become “experts” in a certain field along with sharing their knowledge with their coursemates. This method implies students to teach themselves and your peers. Additionally, implies a deeper level of understanding of a subject, active discussions and seeking for solutions of problems.[1] What makes this technique so effective is the essential contribution of each member of the group. The jigsaw technique is typically conducted in groups of 5-6 people who preferably come from different backgrounds. The assignment itself is focused on one concrete study that should be divided into segments. For a more efficient working process, each student is assigned with one sub-category. Students from the same subcategory can later discuss their discoveries and share with the rest of the class. [2]

Jigsaw Technique Illustration

Activity arrangementEdit

  • Divide students into their main groups which can be named “home group” of 5-6 people and assign each student with a number according to their segment of a work. Ex: A person who is responsible for question number 2 will be allocated with number 2 and so on.
  • Ask students to find other students with the same number and create another group. This group can be called an “expert group”.
  • Provide an expert group with a particular concept, framework, issue which they have to master. Collaboratively, as a group, they should come up with a way of performing their “piece of puzzle” to their home groups.
  • Students then need to explain their part to their home groups.
  • Make students connect all the “puzzles” together and encourage them to see how each part helps to see the whole concept.
  • Keep in mind that it is worth observing the progress of each group and assisting students in case of arising troubles.
  • If you want to ensure students gained some knowledge during the session, give them a small quiz.


  • practise of self and peer teaching
  • develops cooperation
  • use of critical thinking skills
  • cultivate social skills in terms of problem solving, listening and communicating
  • allows teachers to observe how much students already know which can help with future class arrangement[3]

How to use this method in online class?Edit

If the method is assigned to be done during one class, expert groups can be divided into breakout rooms in Zoom or Google Meet, for example. Later, in order to perform their sections students can be sent to breakout rooms with their home group. If the technique is assigned for a longer period of time, let students decide on the platform they will be using. However, there is a platform that can help students share their ideas to the whole class. Padlet is a virtual “wall” where students can put down their answers and teachers are able to comment and provide feedback.


  1. Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, ‘Teaching toolkit series: Jigsaw technique’, The University of Queensland, n.d., received from
  2. Jigsaw Classroom, ‘The Jigsaw Classroom’, n.d., received from
  3. AdolescentLiteracy, ‘Classroom Strategies: Jigsaw’, n.d., received from