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 | Reflect
In class
Offline | Online
> 60 minutes
Group size
Medium | Large

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. 


  • 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.

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