Allowing Learners To Choose Discussion Topic With Zoom Breakout Rooms

Challenge – Some topics can be personally challenging for learners to discuss in the lesson and it can be difficult online to create a situation where learners control discussion choice.  The solution presented here is to rename breakout rooms with topics and use the ‘Let participants choose room’ function so learners can choose what they want to talk about.  This will enable learners to choose the topic they are comfortable discussing.

Tools Used – Zoom Breakout Rooms

Activity Outline

In this example, learners were going to discuss their future aspirations.  First, they had 6 texts where 6 different families talked about their own aspirations and those for their children. The learners were introduced to new vocabulary and phrases to talk about future aspirations.  The production part of this lesson was discussing either their own aspirations or their favourite aspiration from the text.


Before the Lesson:

1 – Teacher clicks the breakout room button and chooses the ‘Let participants choose room’ radio button. 

2 – Create as many rooms as you need and then rename them into your different discussion topics.  In this example, the topics are ‘Your favourite aspiration from the text’ and ‘Aspirations for yourself or your children’.  Do not assign any learners to the rooms.  Click ‘Open All Rooms’.

3 – After opening the rooms, learners will see the screen below.  They can then choose which room they want to enter (and therefore, what they want to discuss) by clicking ‘join’.


1 –  Learners use the new vocabulary and phrases to discuss the topic of their choice.

2 – If you have many different topics, an optional extra could be for the learners to move rooms after a set amount of time so that they can discuss more topics. Again, as they are able to choose the room based on the topic they have control over what they talk about.

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