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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 322-325

Jigsaw technique: An innovative teaching strategy in anatomy

Department of Anatomy, KAHER'S J N Medical College, Belagavi, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission22-May-2022
Date of Acceptance05-Jul-2022
Date of Web Publication27-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sheetal Vishwanath Pattanshetti
Department of Anatomy, KAHER'S J N Medical College, Belagavi - 590 003, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jss.jss_95_22

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Objectives: (1) To motivate students for self-directed learning and to enhance their communication skills. (2) To investigate jigsaw technique for its effectiveness in learning anatomy. Cooperative education is the prime aim of this teaching–learning intervention. The students rely on each other for a collective or combined learning experience. The onus of responsibility of the work done by the student and his/her team will be evaluated by the facilitator. We would like to know whether jigsaw cooperative learning would be considered as effective interventional teaching-learning measure compared to the traditional lecture method. Materials and Methods: Sixty students of first MBBS were involved in a jigsaw session to learn anatomy. The students were divided into groups of five and a total of 12 such groups were made. The study material was also divided into five topics. The students read the study material and after becoming well versed with their topic, they taught their topic to other students. The students were asked to give feedback on the session. A surprise MCQ test was also conducted between this group and a control group of students to assess their knowledge. The results of the MCQ test were statistically analyzed. Results: The students found the jigsaw session to be more engaging than traditional classes. MCQ scores were more in the study group than in the control group. Conclusion: The jigsaw technique is both an educational and enjoyable way of teaching. Due to its immense benefits, both students and teachers resolved to use this technique in the future as well.

Keywords: Collaborative, cooperative learning, jigsaw technique

How to cite this article:
Dnyanesh S, Pattanshetti SV, Bhimalli SM, Dixit D. Jigsaw technique: An innovative teaching strategy in anatomy. J Sci Soc 2022;49:322-5

How to cite this URL:
Dnyanesh S, Pattanshetti SV, Bhimalli SM, Dixit D. Jigsaw technique: An innovative teaching strategy in anatomy. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 31];49:322-5. Available from: https://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2022/49/3/322/365188

  Introduction Top

In institutions of higher education, teaching and learning activities have not been strikingly changed over the years in spite of having the advantage of the Internet and mobile technologies. As stated by Hurtado et al., in their study, 45% of the faculty members of higher educational institutions continue the traditional method of giving lectures as their teaching method.[1] Different types of cooperative learning methods have been mentioned in the literature. To quote a few, Student Teams Achievement Divisions, Jigsaw, Think-Pair-Share, Two Stay Two Stray, and Group Investigation. In this study, we have chosen the jigsaw technique to determine its effectiveness and to motivate students for self-directed learning.

Integrated and coordinated learning is the main focus of this study, which as a creative teaching–learning measure would improve the learning outcome.[2]

In this method, a goal is achieved by working together, which otherwise could not have been achieved by striving alone or by competing with each other.[3]

To upgrade the skills and knowledge acquired by the student, a series of learning experiences should be planned using a patterned approach. It should incorporate reading, interpreting, and application of concepts.[4]

According to Slavin, jigsaw learning is a student-centered, instructor-facilitated technique.[5] The jigsaw technique is a method of teaching and learning activity designed and termed by a Professor named Elliot Aronson in 1971 in Austin, Texas. It is a kind of collaborative study where students rely on one another to achieve their learning goals.

Kessler, in his study, states that positive interdependence, team formation, accountability, social skill, and structuring are the five pillars of cooperative learning.[6] It is a method of organizing classroom activities that makes students dependent on each other to learn the subject. It is an organized way to engage each and every student to cooperate with each other to learn an area of knowledge. It creates a suitable environment for the students to learn a large proportion of information in a limited time span.

  Materials and Methods Top

In the present study, the jigsaw technique was randomly introduced into one of the three tutorial batches which consisted of 60 students (study group), and not introduced into the other two batches (control group). We decided to compare the results between the study group and the control group.

The jigsaw technique uses a step-wise method to achieve the objectives of learning. Sixty students of first MBBS were involved in a jigsaw session to learn anatomy [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Steps involved in jigsaw technique. Step 1: Students were divided into jigsaw groups. Each group had five students. Step 2: Study topic was also divided into five segments and each student was assigned one segment. Step 3: Students form “Expert” groups. Step 4: Students teaching in their jigsaw groups. Step 5: Large group discussion

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The students were divided into groups of five and a total of 12 such groups were made.

The study topic was also divided into five segments and each student was assigned one segment. The students were then asked to study their part for 15 min independently.

Then, a small new group called as “Expert” group was formed which included all the students of the jigsaw technique who had studied the same topic. The expert group allowed all students to clarify their doubts in understanding that topic and to discuss the key points.

Then students rejoined their jigsaw group and took turns to present their topics. After every student of the group had gained considerable expertise on their topic, they were confident enough to teach their topic to the rest of their group members.

While the jigsaw sessions were going on, the facilitator moderated them. At the end, the facilitator discussed the topic as a whole with all the participants to clarify the concepts. These jigsaw sessions were conducted once every week.

The students were asked to give feedback on the sessions in the form of a questionnaire [Table 1]. A surprise MCQ test was also conducted after eight jigsaw sessions between this group and a control group of students to assess their knowledge.
Table 1: Feedback questionnaire

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  Discussion Top

Based on Schwab's theories (1973), Novak (2011), in his study suggested that to achieve higher levels of meaningful learning, five basic elements must be coordinated effectively which include “teacher, student, study material, context, and assessment.” According to him, the teacher should rather than acting like a distributor of knowledge should act like a trainer or instructor for learning and the onus of learning has to be ultimately borne by the student. The teacher can provide guidance when needed.[7]

According to Johnson et al., cooperative learning stimulates the students to do their academic work and hence the students in all probability assist one another with their work. It helps to foster mutual responsibility as well. Cooperative learning builds a situation in which students are compelled to talk about and discuss their point of views. It brings in critical thinking skills to the students. This will also be beneficial in improved assimilation of subject matter. Students reciprocate more often which stimulates a detailed thought process and are benefitted by this kind of mutual exchange of knowledge.[8]

The application of cooperative learning, by far benefits the learner to get a thorough understanding of the subject matter by in-depth academic discussion. In comparison to the instructor-led discussions, peer group discussion is found to be more beneficial because they exchange instant mutual feedback. It gives more opportunities for personal feedback. This will carry the discussion to a higher level. Cognitive growth is also stimulated because it encourages and promotes active learning, by social interaction with peers and their instructor.[9]

According to Aronson (2008), peer group interaction has an immense impact on learning. Here, the learner actively participates in the learning process and develops essential skills such as participatory learning and interaction with peers of their team. The faculty members who conducted the jigsaw technique absolutely agreed to what he said concerning the benefits of the jigsaw technique.[10]

When the students learn lessons in smaller informative chunks, they will have a deeper understanding of what they have learned.[11] As compared to traditional methods of teaching, the students become more cooperative with each other in jigsaw sessions. This will create deeper social bonds within the group.[12]

In a study done by Walker S et al., he used the jigsaw technique in place of the traditional journal club. The participants gave a number of positive remarks and rated the usefulness of this method as 3.5 on a 5-point scale.[13] The jigsaw method definitely increases students' attention spans and their focus on studies. Students are involved in more interactive learning in creative classroom activities. This is because of the responsibility each student had toward the peers of the same group. Each student is accountable to one specific area of information that he has to teach to the rest of the students. They found it easy to communicate and express their views confidently and made self-motivated learning. Students were more attentive and enthusiastic and participated actively in such peer group teaching–learning sessions.[14]

Buhr et al. used the jigsaw method in their comparative study and found that the students made better progress in knowledge tests compared to the students of previous years.[15]

Anita Lie opines that jigsaw technique is a cooperative learning experience ideal for small group teaching. It is a model of the teaching and learning process where the activities are learner-centric. Jigsaw has wide applicability for achieving the desired learning outcomes. The students work in groups but each person has to master one segment of their job.[16]

  Results Top

On analyzing the data of the feedback form and one-to-one interaction, we found that the students participated more enthusiastically and were totally engaged in cooperative learning with the peer groups. They learned important concepts of the subject in the desired manner to the satisfaction of the facilitator.

Students in the jigsaw classes were found to be confident and enjoyed the classes as perceived by their feedback response.[5] A statistical test was done to analyze the results of the MCQ test [Table 2]. Statistically significant scores of the study group clearly denoted that the jigsaw technique was successful in making the students understand the concepts in depth. It improved the overall performance of the students and made them confident.
Table 2: Statistical analysis

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  Conclusion Top

The students found the jigsaw technique to be more engaging than the traditional classes. Hence, traditional didactic teaching method needs to be complemented with interactive methods such as jigsaw technique to facilitate learning. It is an innovative teaching–learning methodology that can be effectively implemented in small group teaching sessions in medical schools. It improves their communication skills and problem-solving skills. This study testifies that newer creative teaching methods such as jigsaw are beneficial in collaborative learning. Cooperative learning has an advantage over discrete individual learning because the students support and assist each other. This will help to strengthen their academic skills and build social competence. If facilitators effectively use this technique, students invariably evolve teamwork and experience effective peer learning. They also learn essential life skills and good attitudes from their peers. The students learn to be more patient and less critical. They become more compassionate toward one another. The observation made by the staff member also confirmed that the students understand better and remember what they learned for a long time because jigsaw will make them self-directed learners. It is suggested that faculty members should vouch for active teaching–learning methods and should to produce better Indian Medical Graduates. Faculty members should preferably focus on the activity method of teaching which will make the students to properly understand the concepts in depth.

It is a basic requisite to engage the students to think, judge, and express their knowledge in order to involve them completely in academics. Hence, it is demanded by the faculty members to plan the lessons accordingly.

To sum up, the data obtained from the current study concludes that the application of cooperative and interactive learning programs has a positive influence on students' participation.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Hurtado S, Eagan K, Pryor JH, Whang H, Tran S. Undergraduate Teaching Faculty: The 2010-2011 HERI Faculty Survey; 2012. Available from: http://www.heri.ucla.edu.ezp1.lib.umn.edu. [Last accessed on 2022 Apr 6].  Back to cited text no. 1
Johnson RT, Johnson DW. Student student interaction: Ignored but powerful. J Teach Educ 1985;34:22-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
Johnson DW, Johnson RT, Holubec EJ. Circles of Learning: Cooperation in the Classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company; 1986.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kagan S. Educational Leadership; 1990. Available from: http://home.capecod.net/~tpanitz/tedsarticles/coopdefinition.htm. [Last accessed on 2022 Apr 6].  Back to cited text no. 4
Slavin RE. Cooperative learning. Rev Educ Res 1980;50:315342.  Back to cited text no. 5
Carolyn K, editor. Cooperative Language Learning: A Teacher's Resource Book. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents; 1992. p. 257. George Jacobs First Published June 01, 1994. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/003368829402500109. [Last accessed on 2022 May 10].  Back to cited text no. 6
Novak JD. Meaningful Learning: The Essential Factor for Conceptual Change in Limited Or Inappropriate Propositional Hierarchies (LIPHs) Leading to Empowerment of Learners. Teoria da Aprendizagem Significativa; in The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Misconceptions Trust: Ithaca, NY (1993).  Back to cited text no. 7
Johnson DW, Johnson RT, Holubec EJ. Circles of Learning: Cooperation in the Classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company; 1986.  Back to cited text no. 8
Adams FH. Using Jigsaw technique as an effective way of promoting cooperative learning among primary six pupils in Fijai. Int J Educ Pract 2013;1:64-74.  Back to cited text no. 9
Aronson E. Jigsaw classroom: Sage publications; 2008.  Back to cited text no. 10
Huang YM, Liao YW, Huang SH, Chen HC. A jigsaw-based cooperative learning approach to improve learning outcomes for mobile situated learning. Educ Techno Soc 2014;17:128-40.  Back to cited text no. 11
Mills BJ, Cottell PG Jr. Cooperative Learning for Higher Education Faculty. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press; 1998.  Back to cited text no. 12
Walker S, Olvet DM, Chandran L. MedEdPublish 2015;6:14. http://dx.doi.org/10.15694/mep.2015.006.0014.  Back to cited text no. 13
Mengduo Q, Xiaoling J. Jigsaw strategy as a cooperative learning technique: Focusing on the language learners. Chine J Appl Linguist 2001;33:113-25.  Back to cited text no. 14
Buhr GT, Heflin MT, White HK, Pinheiro SO. Using the jigsaw cooperative learning method to teach medical students about long-term and postacute care. J Am Med Dir Assoc 2014;15:429-34.  Back to cited text no. 15
Anita L. Cooperative Learning. Jakarta: Grasindo; 2010.  Back to cited text no. 16


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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