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  Jigsaw Design Team

"Applying an online "Jigsaw" collaborative learning strategy in an Education subject"


Design Team
  Team: Diane Hansford and Alan Wylie


  Focus: Collaborative
  Discipline: Education & Educational Technology
  Target: Undergraduate
  ICT used: Web plus LMS (Learning Management System)
  Scope: Over several learning sessions

Designer's Summary


This learning design involves an online collaborative strategy referred to as a "Jigsaw" approach.

The learning experience provides the opportunity for students to work in groups online to investigate six examinable topics on teaching and learning theory.

The online group work is to encourage collaboration, interdependence and purposeful sharing of resources and knowledge. In addition, face-to-face activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops allow opportunities for networking beyond the online environment. In undertaking the major task student teams reach consensus as they construct a single report on their investigations and develop mastery of their particular topic. The groups then share their knowledge with other teams who have investigated different topics. Students are then able to become familiar with all topics through access to each team report.

Towards the end of the semester the students sit an exam that requires them to write an essay based on one of six topics. At the beginning of the semester, the students are given the six questions from which the content of the exam paper will be drawn. Of these six questions, three questions appear in the exam and students are required to write on only one of these questions. The students are however expected to study all six questions as these relate to the content of the entire unit.

There is a set textbook which covers the content of the six topics. Students are directed to further readings for supporting and counter argument. As learning to become proficient with computer-mediated communications is an aspect of the unit, students are provided with the WebCT student help in print form and online.

Students are supported in the following ways.

  • Attending lectures, workshops and seminars based on each topic prior to the online jigsaw.
  • Undertaking a library orientation program to improve their research skills.
  • A Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) workshop that provides students with the necessary skills for using WebCT and to become familiar with the technology.

Rationale for Inclusion


This exemplar has been selected for inclusion for the following reason:

  • The learning design represents the implementation on a generic online collaborative learning strategy - "Jigsaw" that can be used in a range of other disciplines.

Please Cite As:

  Hansford, D. & Wylie, A. (2002). Description of Applying an online "Jigsaw" collaborative learning strategy in an Education subject. Retrieved , from Learning Designs Web site:
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