A Spotlight on Two Cooperative Learning Strategies: Jigsaw and Resolution of Conflict
Cooperative learning strategies are instructional methods that provide learners with a framework, or strategy, to follow in small groups to achieve a common goal. Implementing cooperative learning in your courses encourages learners to take an active role in their learning while the instructor facilitates –guiding the activities, providing a framework of steps to follow, and asking probing questions. Cooperative learning positively affects student motivation, self-efficacy, participation, and performance (Garcia, 2021; Garcia and Rojas-Cazaluade, 2022), can combat a feeling of isolation in online settings (Barreto et. Al, 2022), and, when implemented correctly, also improves information acquisition and retention, higher-level thinking skills, and interpersonal communication skills. Ultimately, when students work together to make sense of what they are learning, it is more likely to stick, and they are more likely to use what they learn.
Jigsaw and Resolution of Conflict, and Resources
Individual Accountability for Cooperative Learning
Instead of providing learners with all the materials to study independently, in the Jigsaw cooperative learning strategy, learners work with two types of teams. Learners first become an expert on a topic in their "expert learning group" team. This group's purpose is to become experts on their piece of the content and develop a plan to teach what they have learned to their original group. Learners then move into their "jigsaw" team where each group member takes turns teaching their topic to their groupmates. To meet the lesson objectives, students must fit their pieces together and synthesize the information from the other team members.
Content choice plays a key role in the effectiveness of this method. It is helpful to start with a concept that can be broken into several pieces. Variety in content pieces (videos, handouts, posters, articles, demonstrations, guest interviews, etc.) can further increase engagement. You can also encourage fun ways to process information individually or in groups by using sketchnotes, concept maps, or something similar. Expert learning groups could even create a Pecha Kucha or prepare a story to help teach their piece. Have fun with it, and learners will enjoy it too!
Resolution of Conflict
Examining Conflicts to Develop Emotional Management Skills
The resolution of conflict model is a cooperative learning method designed to give students a structure to develop empathy and to identify and manage emotions through conflict. Learners begin by exploring participants' reactions to a conflict and identifying possible causes and further empathize as they look at reactions and their effects, what could and should take place, and potential consequences. Learners connect and relate their observations to similar situations they may be familiar with in their own lives and utilize skills related to inference, evaluation, identifying alternative solutions, and generalization. Ultimately, this empathic structure allows students to grasp how the participants of a conflict are feeling and can help them identify and offer alternatives to managing and learning from conflicts in their own lives.
The choice of conflict determines the overall effectiveness of this model. It is important to choose, or have learners choose, a conflict that is complex or messy enough that it involves several perspectives with no clear, correct resolution. You will also need to provide learners with sufficient background information to draw upon throughout the model.
- Visit the Collaboration section of the WMUx Instructional Activities page for step-by-step instructions for implementing these models in your course, and for other activity inspiration as well.
- Jigsaw Activity Card (PDF)
- Accessible Jigsaw Activity
- Resolution of Conflict Activity Card (PDF)
- Accessible Resolution of Conflict Activity
- What are Sketchnotes? - Roh Design
- Using Concept Maps – Eberly Center
- Pecha Kucha Presentations for Teachers and Students – University of Pittsburgh
- Barreto, D., Oyarzun, B., & Conklin, S. (2022). Integration of cooperative learning strategies in online settings. E-Learning and Digital Media, 19(6), 574–594. https://doi.org/10.1177/20427530221104187
- Cano-García, E., & Rojas-Cazaluade, O. (2022). Increase in academic performance due to the application of cooperative learning strategies: A case in construction engineering. Journal of Technology and Science Education, 12(3), 578-595. https://doi.org/10.3926/jotse.1694
- Garcia, M.B. Cooperative learning in computer programming: A quasi-experimental evaluation of Jigsaw teaching strategy with novice programmers. Educ Inf Technol 26, 4839–4856 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-021-10502-6
- Gunter, M. A., Estes, T. H., & Mintz, S. L. (2007). Instruction: A models approach. Pearson Education.