Learning Islands

In this activity, students are divided into small groups and jump from one small teaching session to another. Each session is like a learning island where they receive various pieces of information.

By applying different teaching activities on each island, variation and interaction are guaranteed.

Activity goal
Brainstorm |
Exchange knowledge |
Get to know each other |
In class
Offline |
> 60 minutes
Group size
Medium |

MS Teams, Zoom

Step 1

Choose a suitable topic that can be divided into multiple smaller sessions of 5-15 min, and where the order of the subtopics is not important. Examples can be found in the Tips & tricks section below.

Step 2

Design a small activity for each session and find a session host (e.g. teacher, teaching assistant, or student) to lead it. Prepare a schedule with the order, hosts, and locations (links) for how they can join them.

Step 3

Divide the class into small groups that will attend sessions together. The number of groups should be equal to the number of sessions. 

Step 4

Start together, introduce the topics of different sessions and share your schedule with the order, hosts, and locations (links) for how they can join them. 

Step 5

The groups of students visit sessions one by one, based on the schedule. 

Step 6

Conclude in a joint session by asking students to put their learning from all the sessions together. 

  • Examples

    • Suppose you want to discuss Sustainable Development Goals, you can have each group talking about one goal and discussing action they can do to contribute.
    • Discussing motivational theories can be done by presenting one theory on each island with a teaching activity. 


    It is important to manage time properly here. Make sure to allocate 1 or 2 minutes or so for changing from session to session. 


    You can choose to let students freely roam around different sessions without a schedule based on their interests. This works best when the small sessions are focused on brainstorming or discussion topics. Here the host would play the role of facilitator more. 

  • 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. 


    • create a separate channel in MS Teams for each session. 
    • create multiple calls with a host in Zoom. Breakout rooms don't work well for this activity as students need to have the ability to switch from session to session by themselves.


    A room with multiple tables, or multiple rooms close to each other.