When you initially design a training course, you may decide that lecture-style delivery will suffice. Then after a couple of runs, you receive learner feedback that the course lacks engagement opportunities. You can't change the course content, so how do you improve? What strategy can you use to adjust the course delivery to make the learning experience more engaging and meaningful?
Your next step depends greatly on the content. If it is possible to divvy up the curriculum into decisive, digestible chunks, then the jigsaw strategy could be a great solution. Not only will it foster engagement, but it provides an experiential learning experience for participants. What's more, you can apply the jigsaw approach in traditional and virtual learning environments. Here's how it works.
1. Divide the group. Say you're facilitating a class on generations in the workplace. Assign one group Gen X, assign Gen Z to the next group, and so on. Four topics usually work best. Prepare learners for the activity by providing the class with specific instructions and timing. For example, "Spend five minutes reading and researching on your topic and five minutes collaborating and discussing among your group. Then together decide the top five things the rest of us need to know about your topic."
2. Regroup and relay findings. Now that each subgroup has become knowledgeable on its piece of the puzzle, the larger group can reconvene, and the stage is now set for participants to learn from each other. Provide specific instructions on how to report findings to the larger group so that this teach-back opportunity is consistent for everyone.
3. Debrief as a group. Now that the groups have covered all the components and each has contributed to the learning process, learners should see the full picture. Prepare your own list of takeaways for each portion of content and compare your lists with each group's findings during the debriefing session. That gives you an opportunity to fill in any knowledge gaps and opens the door for added conversation to reinforce learning.
Get creative with group arrangements as needed. If you have three participants and four content areas to cover, assign each individual one area to research and report on, and then have them work on the fourth as a group. For larger classes, two different groups could tackle the same topic.