Small groups of students become "experts" on a specific subtopic. Then new groups are created with representatives from each subtopic so they can share their knowledge with each other.
  • Small groups (3-10)
  • 30-60 minutes
  • >60 minutes
  • Discussion
  • Practicing academic skills
  • Apply
  • Analyse
  • Create
  • Evaluate

When to use it?

  • When you want students to learn from one another.
  • When you want to introduce a lot of new content to students.

Activity instructions


  • Choose a theme/topic and divide it into subtopics. The subtopics should be the same in terms of complexity and amount of information.
  • Formulate clear instructions for the subgroups. Do they need to do a specific assignment or answer certain questions about the subtopic?.

Activity steps

  1. Make groups
  2. Divide the students into subgroups of equal size (4-7 students in every subgroup). Every subgroup represents a certain subtopic.
  3. Explain the subtopics
    Explain the different subtopics to the different subgroups.
  4. Prepare
    Give the subgroups 10-30 minutes to prepare for their subtopic.
  5. Make new groups
    Create new subgroups: Each group should consist of students who have worked on different subtopics. In that way, all subtopics are represented in every new subgroup and every student is essential for bringing their
    knowledge together.
  6. Share knowledge
    Let the students in the new subgroups share their knowledge with each other. In every subgroup, each student explains to the others what they have learned about their subtopic so that in the end all students have knowledge of all topics.
  7. Discuss
    Bring the students back together for a 5-10 minute plenary session. Let the subgroups share their most important and interesting findings.

Tips for implementation & variation

  • Online teaching: The subgroups can prepare in breakout rooms.
  • Create an assignment in which the students need each other's knowledge in order to complete the assignment.
  • You can ask the students to prepare their subtopic before class.
  • As a teacher, you can walk around the classroom (offline) or you can visit the separate breakout rooms (online) to hear what the students are talking about and help them if necessary.

Supporting tools