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Round Robin (ALC)

Using Round Robin activity to facilitate discussions in Active Learning Classrooms

Time and Effort
Instructor Prep Time Low
Student Activity Time Low
Instructor Response Time Low
Complexity of Activity Low


Round Robin has students brainstorm on a topic without elaborating, explaining, or questioning ideas. Group members take turns responding to a question with a word, phrase, or short statement. Students share their thoughts one at a time until all students have had the opportunity to speak.


    Use it when you want...

    • To have students generate as many ideas as possible around a topic while discouraging comments that interrupt or inhibit the flow of ideas,
    • To ensure equal participation among group members or
    • To generate a list of ideas that will be the basis for a next-step assignment.

    What students will need

    • Laptop, tablet, or mobile phone
    • Classroom with campus wireless connection


    The following workflow is meant to guide how to facilitate a Round Robin learning activity within an Active Learning Classroom.


    • Write a prompt that can generate a rich array of responses and be expressed quickly and succinctly.
    • Practice by listing as many possible responses as you can.
    • Use the length of your list to predict the duration of your in-class exercise.


    • At each table, have students assign a rule enforcer, if necessary, and a scribe to record the results of the activity in their group's slide. The rule enforcer explains that brainstorming aims to generate many ideas and informs students that they must refrain from evaluating, questioning, or discussing ideas to prevent interrupting or inhibiting the flow of ideas.
    • Give groups a time limit.
    • Pose the prompt. Ask one student to begin by stating an idea or answer aloud. The next student continues brainstorming by stating a new idea, moving from member to member until all students have participated.
    • Review and synthesize results on the group's Google Slide or Top Hat.
    • End the activity. Ask one or two tables to present their slide to the room. Ask the rest of the class if they had results not represented by the reporting groups.


    • Review the outcomes of the activity.

    Accessibility and Room Considerations

    • None

    Technical Documentation


    Example 1

    A Survey of International Business professor decides to use Round Robin to generate ideas and enthusiasm for a unit on risk analysis.  He organized students into groups of five or six and assigned one person in each group to be the recorder.  He then asks the students to respond to the prompt, "Identify a force that influences the competitive business environment."  Students take turns responding, each student adding a new idea.  After, groups generate ideas for about ten minutes. At the end of the activity, the instructor asks the recorder from each group to share one new idea (Modified from Barkley, 160).

    Example 2

    A lecturer in Legal Writing 1 finds that his large class of 120 students is not engaging, and discussions are flat. He isn't sure whether it is because students are coming to class unprepared or whether there are real gaps in their understanding of content. Consistent calls for student questions have done little to improve things. He decides to use a Round Robin activity. He gives the groups the discussion prompt, "Create a list of five or six improvements to the sample contract you read before class." Students are given 15 minutes to create their list. The class comes together again, and several groups are asked to share their list as the instructor generates a collective list. After the list is made, students are asked to use it to inform their homework assignment to rewrite the contract (Modified from Barkley 161).


    Barkley, Elizabeth F. et al. Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook For College Faculty. Wiley, 2014. pp 159-163.

    Keywordsdiscussions, brainstorming, ideas, turnsDoc ID118468
    OwnerTimmo D.GroupInstructional Resources
    Created2022-05-10 14:45:25Updated2024-04-16 15:42:44
    SitesCenter for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
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