Using the Jigsaw technique

One of the benefits of participating in a close, collaborative group involved in learning is the wealth of knowledge that is shared. Shared learning is often the result of using the jigsaw technique, an instructional technique developed by Elliot Aronson and his colleagues in the 1970s (American Psychological Association (APA), 2003). Although the purpose of this instructional technique was to reduce interracial tensions when it was first developed, it is now used as an effective method of creating collaborative learning within a specific group of individuals.

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As with all instructional techniques, there is a variety of ways of implementing the Jigsaw method. In the MALAT program, we had the opportunity to practice two levels of this technique. The first level consisted of members within one team each sharing two examples of technology-mediated programs that they were familiar with. In this way, one team of four was exposed to eight different available programs.

The second level consisted of each team choosing only two of their

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programs to share with the entire class. Since there were eight teams in the MALAT program, this resulted in each team being exposed to 14 other programs, on top of the eight they had shared within their team. In simple terms, in one week, I learned about 22 different technology-mediated programs available in Canada.

Without this collaborative activity, I would likely not know about the FASD Learning Series that the Alberta Government provides free for families and caregivers affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Or that there is a certificate program for yoga instructors to learn how to design specialized treatment programs for clients with chronic health issues. Business managers and entrepreneurs may be interested in the Social Media certificate course offered by Humber College. And health care professionals who work in neonatal departments likely would need certification in neonatal resuscitation offered through Lakeridge Health Education and Research Network in Ontario.

I was excited to learn about BAWL (Building Aboriginal Women’s Leadership), a fully online program for aboriginal women interested in working with tribal or band councils, management boards and boards of directors of Aboriginal organizations. And for those into data science, a course on R Programming for statistical analysis is available through Coursera. Programs that open many doors of opportunity include the Applied Management Certificate program offered online through both Camosun College and the University of British Columbia (UBC). Surprisingly, even diplomas for teaching are available online through professional institutions such as the Vancouver Community College.

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All of this information, and more, gathered by one class of 31 students within one week as a result of a simple, yet astonishingly powerful, instructional method: the Jigsaw technique.


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Alberta Government (February 9, 2015). Learning and Resources: FASD Learning Series. [Website]. Retrieved

American Psychological Association (December 19, 2003). How to Build a Better Educational System: Jigsaw Classrooms. [Weblog post]. Retrieved

Camosun College (n.d.). Continuing Education: Certificate in Applied Project Management. [Website]. Retrieved

Humber College (n.d.). Continuing Education: Social Media. [Website]. Retrieved

John Hopkins University (n.d.). Coursera: Data Science: Data Analysis: R Programming. [Website]. Retrieved

Lakeridge Health (n.d.). Advanced Medical Training: Neonatal Resuscitation Course. [Website]. Retrieved

Mount Royal University (n.d.). Continuing Education: Yoga Therapy Extension Certificate. [Website]. Retrieved

Sioux Hudson Literacy Council (n.d.). Good Learning Anywhere: BAWL. [Website]. Retrieved

University of British Columbia (n.d.). Continuing Studies: Project Management. [Website]. Retrieved

Vancouver Community College (n.d.). Instructor and Teacher Training: Provincial Instructor Diploma. [Website]. Retrieved


  1. Hi Roger: This is the cohort that I’m with for my Masters program at Royal Roads. I’m not sure if there would be a group that would just get together for the sake of discussing issues like this. Often, these types of discussions take place in a learning environment like a school, university, etc. That doesn’t mean that someone couldn’t start something though!

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