Jigsaw puzzle

Do you teach subjects that involve whole-to-parts relationships? Do you spend time telling learners how a product, organization, or other subject is organized? If so, jigsaw puzzles and scrambled-tiles games offer a way to let learners discover such relationships and to test learners on such relationships.

A scrambled-tile puzzle can help learners recall images, visualize relationships, or notice discriminating details.

About the examples

Jigsaw puzzle activityThis activity on listening skills asks learners to assemble an organization chart based on an overheard conversation among company executives. The puzzle works like this. Learners click on the tile they want to move, then click where they want to move the tile. They continue the process until the picture has been assembled.

Here is another example that asks learners to assemble a jigsaw puzzle of a house. The game directs learners’ attention to specific architectural details and to the spatial relationships among them.

Jigsaw puzzle activityThis jigsaw puzzle requires learners to drag and drop the puzzle pieces into place to configure a network. It is not as simple as it looks. Learners must assemble a jigsaw puzzle made up of the component of a computer network. As they drop a component into place, they get feedback on how well the component works in the slot to which it is assigned and how it interacts with surrounding components. With this activity, learners explore the abstract world of multi-layered standards regarding data-communication protocols—but in a fun, tangible way.

Such simulations are difficult to create but are very effective in teaching subjects that do not have just one right answer. There are more pieces than slots and only compatible components can be used together. There is no fixed solution: any combination of components that would work in the real world work here.

The first two examples were created using Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop, and JavaScript. The MakeNet network puzzle was built using Adobe Flash.

E-learning design specialists