Three-Step Interview (classroom)

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Facilitating a Three-Step Interview active learning activity in a classroom.

Time and Effort

Instructor Prep TimeLow
Student Activity TimeLow
Instructor Response TimeLow
Complexity of ActivityLow


Three-Step Interview has student pairs take turns interviewing each other, then asks them to report what they learned to another pair. Step 1: Student A interviews Student B; Step 2: Student B interviews Student A; Step 3: Student A and B each summarize their partner’s responses for other groups.


Use it when you want...

  • To allow students to network and improve communication skills,
  • To have students listen carefully, concentrate on the interviewee’s responses, and encourage elaboration while refraining from imposing their thoughts, or
  • To have students practice expressing their ideas succinctly as they summarize the results of their interview.

What students will need

  • No special requirements for this approach.


The following workflow is meant as guidance for how you can facilitate a Three-Step Interview learning activity within a classroom.


  • Develop a list of interview questions that involve opinions or experiences related to course content.
  • Identify the types of questions that align with the course goals and probe for values, attitudes, prior experience, and/or comprehension of course content.


  • Students divide into groups of four, then into two pairs (A-B and C-D).
  • The instructor poses the question to the class. Gives students time to think about the question and devise individual responses.
  • Students are asked to join their groups. 
  • Student A interviews Student B; Student C interviews Student D for a predetermined time. The interviewer asks questions, listens, and probes for further information but does not evaluate or respond.
  • Student B interviews Student A; Student D interviews Student C for the same amount of time.
  • Student A and B introduce each other with synthesized summaries of their partner’s interview responses to Student C and Student D. Student C and D do the same.
  • Students share responses in a larger class discussion.
  • Draw conclusions, synthesize results, or guide another activity in response.


  • Review the outcomes of the activity.

Accessibility and Room Considerations

Technical Documentation


Barkley, Elizabeth F. et al. Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook For College Faculty. Wiley, 2014. pp. 175-179.

See Also:

Keywords:three step interview, discussion, active learning   Doc ID:104155
Owner:Timmo D.Group:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
Created:2020-07-20 10:44 CSTUpdated:2021-08-20 13:04 CST
Sites:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
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