Instructional Design

Puzzle Piece – Online Teaching Tools

Puzzle Piece

Effective Online Teaching Tools

In your time as an educator, you’ve no doubt picked up effective teaching techniques. With the recent rise of eLearning, we want to help you adapt those techniques to work just as well online. We’ve already shared a few ideas like Relevant Topic Journaling and Summarize, Reflect, Ask. This week, we’re introducing Puzzle Piece.

The Technique

The idea behind Puzzle Piece is to split course content into four to six different pieces. From there, students will break off into groups and learn about each different piece. They’ll need to become experts on their designated part. Once done, students will reconvene to discuss what they’ve learned. You can facilitate this several ways. Assign one student from each group into larger puzzle piece groups, or have students pick a spokesperson from their group to present to the class. The goal is to have students teach each other the content, which is proven to deepen their learning. By the end of the process, each group and student will have a complete picture of the course material, and the “puzzle” will be complete.

The Tool

Puzzle Piece works well online, so you’ll have no shortage of options to use. Have students present their findings on VoiceThread, an excellent media sharing tool. Or, use a shared PowerPoint and assign each group their own slide. They can fill it in with pictures, graphs, or key talking points. Our final recommendation is Canvas Studio, where students and instructors can actively collaborate on the Puzzle Piece project.

The Impact

It’s been said that you never really know something until you have to teach it to someone else. That’s the key behind the success of the Puzzle Piece activity. To teach each other, students will really have to know their stuff. This activity also ensures that all learners get involved, promoting engagement. So if you want an activity that will deepen your students’ knowledge of course material, try out Puzzle Piece in your next lesson!

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