Buzz Groups

Brief Description

A buzz group is a small, intense discussion group usually involving to 3 persons responding to a specific question or in search of very precise information. The full plenary group is subdivided into the small groups. It’s called a ‘buzz’ group because it mimics the sound of people in intense discussion!


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When to use

A buzz group has many applications and benefits, as listed below:

1. It is a creative process.
2. Recalling/reviewing previous learning.
3. Linking elements/concepts/ideas together.
4. Reflecting back to what was previously discussed.
5. Probing issues in greater depth.
6. Transition from one issue to another.
7. Evaluating learning.
8. Connecting life experience with theory.
9. Helping the trainer to discover missing data or misunderstandings and make corrections.
10. Raising unsuspecting issues that must be addressed to make progress.

This technique can be used at anytime throughout the program, particularly when you want trainees to become actively engaged with the issues. For example, you can give a short lecture, follow it with a Q&A session for clarification and then follow that with a buzz group discussion to connect what you were talking about to their job and life experiences.

The intensity of the discussion lasts for up to 10 minutes, less if the task is completed in a shorter time period. There’s nothing more mysterious than that! With many small groups working on a common issue, many options and contributions are offered.


1. Highly participative.
2. Very focussed and direct.
3. Very frequently it integrates theory with experience.
4. Short, intense and using trainees own information so there is ownership of the output by trainees.

How to use

The learners are divided into small groups, usually twos or threes. These small groups meet for a short period to consider a simple question or problem. The ideas, thus exchanged, may then be presented to the other participants by each of the small groups in turn, so promoting further discussion.

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Page Authors

-Okey Nwoke