Zoom +  =

Case Studies on Zoom using Google Docs

Break your participants into small groups, where each will discuss a case study, answering a series of questions. Once they’ve worked through their case study, have them pick a spokesperson. Return everyone to the main session, and have the spokesperson from each group present their case.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Explain that you’ll be sending everyone into breakout rooms with a small group to work through a case study, which will be provided in a Google Doc with a heading matching the name of their breakout room. Once in their breakout rooms, they should read the case, then work together to answer the questions. After which, they’ll choose a spokesperson, and present their case to the full group.
  2. Check in for questions or clarifications.
  3. Share the link to the Google Doc with the case studies.
  4. Send participants into their breakout rooms.
  5. Give them 5 - 7 minutes (longer or shorter depending on the complexity of your case studies and the number of questions). Send a 2-minute warning broadcast, reminding them to pick a spokesperson.
  6. Return all participants to the main session, and either ask for a volunteer or pick one group to start by sharing their case. Hear from the remaining groups, or whatever number you have time for.


Set-up the breakout rooms for the case studies to distribute your full group into groups of 3 - 5 participants.

The easiest way to deliver the case studies will be as a Google Doc with one case per page, and titles on each case that correspond to your breakout room names (e.g., Group A, Group B, Group C). Have the shareable link to the Google Drive document ready to copy-paste (make sure you’ve enabled “anyone with the link” can view the document).

Alternatively, you can create separate Google Docs for each group, then share them in each breakout room individually with a /copy link, allowing them to take notes directly in the Google Doc.


Other than the Google Drive delivery of the case studies, this will run just like it does in in-person facilitation, and the odds are good that your participants will be familiar with this process, and not need too much clarification or bumpers. Putting extra emphasis into how to find their case study (and how to know what Zoom breakout room they are in) will be energy well spent.

In writing up your cases, do your best to make them complex enough to merit a good discussion, where you could see people constructively disagreeing, or two groups encountering the same case coming away with different recommendations.

For the discussion questions, a “What?”, “So What?”, “Now What?” flow will almost always work, and helps move the discussion from a mere recap of the case, through the implications of it, to recommendations or solutions.

Substituting Apps

If you're using apps other than Zoom and Google Docs, here are the specific things your software will need to be able to do:

Google Docs allows you create a legible text document to share with participants.


Author HeadshotAustin, TX

Activity by Sam Killermann

Co-developer of Facilitator Cards and co-author of Unlocking the Magic of Facilitation. Longtime facilitator of gender/sexuality education.

Facilitation Testers Needed

This activity by Sam Killermann would really benefit from other facilitators testing it, tweaking it, and reporting back. If you give it a try in your virtual facilitation, all we ask is that you tell us how it went.

The main things we're wondering are regarding the context you facilitated it in (with whom, and toward what goal), how well it worked (what worked and what didn't), and in what ways you altered the instructions to make it work for you.