Duration: 30 min - 1 hour
Difficulty Level: Hard
Group Size: < 50
Level of interaction: High
Multilanguage fit: No
Preparation Time: Long
Purpose: Knowledge Construction, Online Socialization
Type of Online Events: Hackaton, Webinar, Workshop

Comparative analysis of tools and techniques

Jigsaw is a cooperative learning method that encourages participants to develop their understanding of a specific aspect of a given topic. Individuals work in small groups in rounds of reflection and discussion and with more pieces of information. These rounds support participants in acquiring a holistic view of the various aspects that impact the discussed issue. Participants start with a specific puzzle piece and jointly complete the puzzle.

Use this method to:

  • Facilitate peer-to-peer learning and encourage participation.
  • Perform critical analysis and comparative thinking.
  • Examine complex systems in manageable pieces.

Steps to apply this method:


  1. Define the purpose of the learning activity and the main topic for the online session. For example, the evaluation of a project in particular.
  2. Create and prepare the learning material for the learning activity. Consider revising the Case Study method to create a realistic scenario and create a list of all the possible puzzle pieces’ of the session’s main topic.
    Consider collecting various sources of information and in multiple multimedia formats to enrich participants’ learning experience.
    Create a set of reflection questions for each piece of the puzzle.
    Write a summary of the case or scenario, putting all elements into context (include background information, actors, problems, consequences, etc.).
  3. Define the technological tool that you will use and familiarize yourself with its functionalities.
    • Design and prepare the online space for participants to work in small groups.
    • Create as many breakout rooms as the available puzzle pieces. 


  1. Brief participants on the purpose of the learning activity and present the roles.
  2. Explain the procedure of the learning activity:
    Variation 1: All participants receive the summary of the case and collectively identify the puzzle pieces. 
    Variation 2: Participants are distributed randomly into groups and receive the summary of the case, information specific to a puzzle piece, and reflection questions. 
  3. Distribute the information and learning materials based on your Variation (1 or 2), and invite participants to get familiar with them (Variation 1: 10 min, Variation 2: 10 min).
  4. Assign participants to groups and distribute them into breaking rooms to start the first round of reflections (Round 1). Note: Check on each group during the round. 
    • For both variations, ask the groups to elect a note-taker, a timekeeper and a group representative
  5. Bring all participants to the main room and invite the group representatives to share the results of their group work (30 min).
    • Cameras and microphones are enabled only for the facilitator and the representatives of each group.
  6. Redistribute participants into new groups and break rooms to continue with the second round of reflections (Round 2). This time each group has a representative of each puzzle piece.
    Groups to elect a note-taker, a timekeeper and a group representative
  7. Repeat procedure (30 min).
  8. Open a final discussion with all participants (15-20 min).
    • Consider documenting the most important points of the discussion and sharing your screen while moderating this part of the session.
  9. Conclude the learning activity by acknowledging the active participation and informing participants where co-created information can be found.

Instruct the working groups to use visual debriefing resources (e.g. pictures, diagrams, keywords used as speaking notes). A double debrief can be effective: in a second debrief, an expert is present to make any corrections or additions to the discussion.

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