By Steven Haimowitz, MD
Published On: June 9, 2020

Teaching Methods to Promote Engagement As the focus on distance learning continues, so do the discussions on learner engagement. As a Group Leader of a Gather-ed curriculum, you have many opportunities to utilize a variety of interactive teaching methods as you moderate your groups. Below you’ll find a few suggestions to help stimulate engagement and provoke critical thinking among group members:

Knowledge Probe

Posting questions in the Group Forum in advance of your Live Group Discussions is a great way to stimulate thinking about the topics to be discussed. Give the learners enough time to think about the questions and to possibly respond on the Group Forum. Revisit these questions toward the end of the Live Group Discussion and probe if the group’s understanding of the topic has evolved.


Before a Live Group Discussion, post a complex, challenging case to the Group Forum based on the content within the Self-Study modules. During the Live Group Discussions, ask your Group Members to consider how they would apply pertinent information discussed in the modules to particular aspects of this case.

Jigsaw Learning

In this approach, you notify a Group Member in advance of a Live Group Discussion that you would like him/her/them to be the “expert” on a particular topic area and to discuss it at some point in the Live Group Discussion (for example, as it relates to a mini-case). Other Group Members will be asked to become experts in other topics and be similarly asked to discuss these topics with their peers. This approach encourages Group Members to take on supportive mentorship roles as part of their Gather-ed group experience.

Point of Reflection

At the conclusion of each Live Group Discussion, ask your Group Members, “What questions do you still have about the issues we discussed today?”   Also, post this comment on the Group Forum after the event concludes.   This approach promotes group member reflection and identification of persistent gaps that you can address in follow-up Live Group Discussions, on the Group Forum, and in 1-1 messaging.

We hope you find these approaches useful as a Group Leader for a Gather-ed curriculum or in other teaching activities.   We would welcome your comments and suggestions regarding other teaching methods that have been successful in promoting engagement among your learners.

The teaching methods discussed above were adapted from a compilation by Lynne Robins, PhD, Center for Leadership and Innovation in Medical Education (CLIME), University of Washington.