Round Robin

Duration: 30 min - 1 hour
Difficulty Level: Hard
Group Size: < 20
Level of interaction: High
Multilanguage fit: No
Preparation Time: Long
Purpose: Information Exchange, Knowledge Construction
Type of Online Events: Hackaton, Roundtable Session, Webinar, Workshop

Creating a collective perspective

The Round Robin is a method to facilitate a discussion in a fast and intense way. Guided by an expert, participants in small groups discuss specific aspects of a topic, rotating through different stations. While at those stations, group members engage with a particular aspect of the topic at hand, building on the work of the previous group.

Use this method to:

  • Activate past learning and build collective knowledge.
  • Cross-fertilize knowledge across disciplines and connect experienced people.
  • Explore issues and solve problems.
  • Analyze situations and create comprehensive perspectives.

Steps to apply this method:


  1. Define the topic(s) for this learning activity, as well as the number and size of the groups.
  2. Define the aspects or categories within the topic(s) that participants will discuss. For example, the topics could be cover management, participation, scope, and sustainability of a project. Aspects or categories are not disconnected from each other. They are all discussed holistically.
  3. Match the number of aspects or categories with the number of groups. 
  4. Create a short discussion guide for each aspect or category. 
  5. Decide whether to recruit experts to support each aspect or category or let participants select representatives from the group. 
  6. Define the tool that you will use and familiarize yourself with its functionalities. 
  7. Design the online collaborative space according to the number of aspects or categories participants will focus on. For example, you can create multiple breakout rooms and display a slide with a discussion guide in each room. Alternatively, you can use the chat space to leave the group a short message with the guidelines.


  1. Brief the participants and explain the learning activity, its purpose and topic.
    • Introduce the topic to explore and discuss in small groups.
    • Present the tool to facilitate the learning activity.
    • If using breakout rooms (variation 1, 2), inform participants how you have designed the learning activity. 
    • If using a different online space (variation 3), share the name of the tool, participants’ requirements. 
    • Explain that in small groups, participants discuss multiple aspects of a topic by rotating through different spaces or stations. Every station has an expert.
    • Groups have between 15-30  minutes per station to discuss a topics’ aspect. The expert takes notes on the most important outcomes of the discussion.
    • Once the time is up, all groups move to the next station, rotating until all stations have been visited.
    • Each rotation should build upon the previous group's work, adding, complementing, correcting, specifying, and exemplifying information in writing. Experts provide the information for groups to build upon, avoid ideas being repeated, and update the information that the upcoming group receives.
    • Explain the order of the stations.
  2. Distribute participants into breakout rooms (variation 1) or let groups choose the breakout room they want to start with (variation 2).
  3. Invite participants to join the complementary online collaborative space (variation 3). Remind them of their start station and the following stations where to move next.
  4. Conclude the learning activity:
    • Bring all participants into a plenary space.
    • Ask each expert to summarize the collective insights (priority points and essential reflections) for each aspect or category and share them with the group.

Allocate time in your session for participants to experiment with the selected tool if they are unfamiliar with it.

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