George Lucas Educational Foundation
Collaborative Learning

How-To: The Jigsaw Method, Revisited

An excellent video on an older, cooperative learning strategy that researchers say remains highly effective.

June 3, 2019
A classroom of high school students working in small groups
©Alamy Stock Photo/Art Directors & TRIP

Jennifer Gonzalez’s popular site Cult of Pedagogy provides the most comprehensive explanation of the jigsaw method—a peer-to-peer learning strategy—that we’ve seen on the web. While the method has been around since at least the 1970s, it's still a relevant approach grounded in evidence.

In their seminal review of learning research, first published as the book Visible Learning in 2008 and updated periodically in list form, John Hattie and Gregory Donoghue describe the jigsaw activity as having the “potential to considerably accelerate student achievement.” They noted that it was the only instructional strategy they looked at that worked across all four of the crucial “learning quadrants,” moving children from “acquiring learning” through “consolidating deep learning.” 

This is a longer video, clocking in at 6:22, but it covers the details of the strategy, which can feel a little complex to the uninitiated, and provides some in-classroom troubleshooting for known pain points, too. 

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  • 3-5 Upper Elementary
  • 6-8 Middle School
  • 9-12 High School

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