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Broken Squares (online version)

Learning Focus

  • Collaboration
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Feedback
  • Icebreaker
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Teambuilding

Group Size

4 - 16
4 - 20


20-40 Minutes
More information
Next day delivery available

Broken Squares (online version) is a virtual team building activity delivered via the custom online experientiallearningtools.com platform. It was designed to work in the same way as our physical Broken Squares activity and therefore provides opportunities to be used in a hybrid session where some participants might be virtual and some physically working together in the same room.

Broken Squares (online version) game success is dependent upon building relationships between team members, an awareness of what others need and a willingness to offer resources without any verbal communication. This makes it an ideal Emotional Intelligence training activity. This activity helps develop learners’ problem solving and virtual team building skills, as well as improving general trust in professional relationships within interdependent virtual groups.

To be successful there are two general group norms that each online team (4 per team) must adhere to:

  • Pay attention to what other team members need as much to what you need
  • No one is finished until everyone is finished

Broken Squares is effectively an online exercise based on ‘giving’ and the included training activity review focus can easily move to individuals and their feelings, actions and decisions. The message of ‘being aware of what other virtual colleagues need’ can then be translated into their workplace behaviours.
This online version is supplied on a one year (optionally renewable) licence basis, and can work with up to four separate groups with between 2x and 4x participants in each group (plus an optional observer), and therefore work with up to 20 x participants in one Session. The licence provides for unlimited use of consecutive Sessions within the licence term - add multiple licences for larger groups (>20) who need to work simultaneously in multiple Sessions.


  • To establish a clear and shared understanding of the objectives of the task at hand
  • To recognise that participation & cooperation by all members of a team are essential to attain team & individual goals
  • To understand the value of offering ‘input’ into a group without the expectation of reciprocal giving (one of the basic principles of effective negotiation)
  • To be aware of the difficulties created when normal channels of communication are restricted
  • To be open to an exploration of different solutions in problem-solving
  • To practise behaviours associated with interdependent teamworking

RSVP Design’s virtual version of Broken Squares is based on the physical Broken Squares game invented by Dr. Alex Bavelas (1973). This is a challenging task - perhaps because there is often a focus on individual contribution over team contribution in many workplaces? Or perhaps because it is so different from conventional group task behaviour yet so necessary for successful cooperative learning?

Virtual participants need to use problem solving skills collaboratively without any verbal or written communication, and use their mouse, touchscreen or other input device to manipulate shapes on their desktop, lap-top or large tablet device screen. This activity is not suitable to use on a smartphone device as the screen size is too small.

Participants access all the assets they need via the secure experientiallearningtools.com platform domain (which can be easily whitelisted if required) and there is no need to download any software. The links simply open a browser window which can then work alongside any preferred video-conferencing or Meetings software such as MS Teams, Zoom etc.

The facilitator accesses the platform in advance to set up groups of up to four participants (with an additional observer if required). When ready to start, the platform will automatically allocate each participant with some of the 21 shapes (the same shapes as per RSVP Design’s physical Broken Squares version). When the activity begins each participant will operate between 1 or 2 quadrants of the screen and be able to move shapes from their quadrant to another one  using their mouse, touchscreen or other input device.

Task success is only achieved when each participant finishes with a square of the same size in their quadrant, and uses all the pieces issued at the beginning of the task.

An additional rule is that no participant may take or request a piece, they can only pass a piece to another participant by dropping it in their quadrant (and the piece will be unconditionally accepted).

Access via the custom developed online experiential learning platform at https://experientiallearningtools.com/login

One annual user licence with online facilitator guidance, including:

  • information and video instruction on setting up the activity and inviting participants
  • information and video instruction on operating the activity and facilitating learning for the group
  • suggestions for reviewing the learning

Online access to each of the 21 x Broken Square shape images that are shared with the participants.

Automated selection of appropriate shape distribution, sent via email to participants, for each user in each Session. Backup individual links can be copied and shared via messaging or private email distribution.

Unlimited use of the activity within the 12 month licence term from the date of purchase, and use of all materials included for up to one simultaneous learner group Session of up to 20 x participants each. 4 is the ideal size of participants per team plus 1 x observer. Up to 4 x teams can be created and run within the same Session.

The ability to add a second manager/trainer to create/manage Sessions in addition to the licence holder. Email invitations to a second Manager/trainer can be made by the licence holder from within the platform.

Additional learner groups using the activity at the same time, or additional trainer registrations will require additional user licences. Please contact [email protected] for details.

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Following receipt of your order you will receive an email to the email address used to purchase this online product. This email will provide further details on accessing your product via the login area of the online experiential learning tools platform (experientiallearningtools.com).

This email will typically be sent the same working day if the order is received by 14.00 local time. If your access instructions have not been received please email [email protected] or call +44 141 561 0387.


Should you decide on inspection and access of the full product that you wish to return the product, this can be done within 7 x days for a full refund, provided it has not been used for any type of commercial activity. This would include using the product in training or learning events for internal staff or external clients. Please email your intention to cancel the product order to [email protected] or call +44 141 561 0387.

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