Collaboration and knowledge exchange among students are key to this teaching method.

Whether you have an extremely heterogeneous groups of students or not, joint learning activities can enormously improve students’ learning. For an optimal effect, get students with the most diverse backgrounds and/or cognitive skills to collaborate. 

Activity goal
Exchange knowledge |
Get to know each other |
Recap / Summarize |
In class |
Pre class
Hybrid |
Offline |
< 60 minutes |
> 60 minutes
Group size
Medium |


Step 1

Students study the literature prior to the session. 

Step 2

On arrival, set up groups according to the number of articles you want to tackle. For example, if you have 4 articles, there should be 4 groups of students with each group addressing one article.

Step 3

Designate a group leader, who is responsible for time management in the group. 

Step 4

Students should work in their group on a summary of the article they were given. They pose questions about the elements that they find unclear and/or discussion questions. The group comes to a conclusion together and gives a presentation/talk. 

Step 5

During the tutorial, the lecturer visits different groups to check the students’ understanding of the knowledge and, if necessary, to steer the groups on the right track. 

Step 6

Once the summary has been completed, create new groups with each group now comprising students who have worked on a different article. They should then share their summaries with each other and ask for feedback or explanation if anything is unclear.

Step 7

After this, all students return to their original groups and share the feedback/discussion and incorporate this in their final assignment.  

Step 8

Discuss the assignment with the complete group. You can do this based on quiz questions, learning objectives that you have prepared, or the conclusions the group arrived at when it completed its assignment.

  • Variation 1

    No preparation is needed for students/working with expert groups

    • Divide the assignment on which the students will be working into 4-6 smaller tasks/topics.
    • On arrival, set up groups according to the number of smaller tasks (for 4 tasks, a group should comprise 4 students).
    • Establish expert groups, comprising students from different groups who are working on the same sub-task. After concluding the task, they should exchange their knowledge within their own expert group and feed this back to their original group.

    Variation 2

    If you have large numbers of students, establish parallel groups; multiple groups that tackle the same article/topic.

    Variation 3

    You can also do Students as experts online. You do this in breakout rooms. Place students in their article group in the first breakout room, after which the students keep moving from one breakout room to the next. This demands more organisational management and you need to structure all the times and students carefully. As lecturer, you can visit all the breakout rooms in Zoom, so you can listen to the discussions that students are having in their groups. At the end, you can discuss the results with all students in a plenary session.



  • Please consider the tools and materials mentioned here as suggestions. In many cases it’s possible to use alternative tools. Please turn to the Learning & Innovation team of your faculty (EUR or EMC) first to see which online and offline tools are available and how to apply them.

    You can give the students a magic chart or large sheet of paper to make all their notes. This ensures that students can present something at the end and, as lecturer, you can also assess these sheets.