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Moodle Guide

The development of this guide is ongoing; we will continue adding Moodle LMS Tips, Guides, and Instructions. On the left-hand sidebar, you will find a list of Moodle LMS features or options. To learn more about that option or feature, click on the link.


A premise of the Constructivism Theory of learning is that it takes place in a social context. Group activities and discussions can engage students in a social learning atmosphere.

Group Levels

A group or grouping can be used on two levels:

  • Course level - The group mode defined at the course level is the default mode for all activities defined within that course. To use groups you need first to set a group mode in Administration > Course administration > Edit settings.
  • Activity level - Each activity that supports groups can also have its own group mode defined. If the course setting "Force group mode" is set to "Yes" then the option to define the group mode for individual activities is not available. If it is set to "No", then the teacher may change the group mode.

Group Modes

There are three group modes

  • No groups - There are no subgroups, everyone is part of one big community
  • Separate groups - Each group can only see their own group, others are invisible.
  • Visible groups - Each group works in their own group but can also see other groups. (The other groups' work is read-only.)

For example, enabling either separate or visible groups on an assignment drop-box enables staff to filter the student submissions to see only those from a particular tutor group. With visible groups, students can see which other groups are doing the same activities as they are; with separate groups, they do not know which other groups are doing the same activities.

Using groups with discussion forums allow teachers to restrict interaction between students. Separate groups mean only students in the same group can see and participate in discussions within a particular forum. Visible groups allow students to see other group's discussions, but only participate in their own group's discussions.

To Add Groups to Your Course

Step 1

Select Participants from the Main Course Navigation bar.

Participants on Course Main Menu


Step 2

Select Groups, from the drop down menu on the page.

Select Groups from drop down menu.


Step 3

Click on the Create Group or Auto-Create Groups button.

Select Create group or Auto create groups.

Step 4

Select the Group Name from the list of groups and then click on Add/remove users.

Step 5

Select the students to move over into this group and then click Add.

Creating a Group

  1. Click the Create group button:

    1. (using the Boost theme) select Participants from the navigation drawer, click the (actions menu) on the right, then Groups.

    2. (using the Classic theme) Administration > Course administration > Users > Groups

  2. Add a group name and optional description (displayed above the list of group members on the participants page), enrollment key and picture (displayed on the participants page and next to forum posts)

  3. Tick the box Enable group messaging if you wish to enage in group conversations. You will then be able to send group messages from the messaging drawer. Make sure you are in the group as well as your students. See Messaging for more information.

  4. Click the 'Save changes' button

  5. Select the group to which you want to add participants, then click the 'Add/remove users button

  6. In the "Potential members" list, select the users you want to add to the group. Multiple users may be selected using the Crtl key.

  7. Click the Add button to add the users to the group

Auto-create Groups

Groups may be created automatically via the 'Auto-create groups' button in Administration > Course administration > Users > Groups. To see all the settings, click the Expand all link top right.


A naming scheme can be created automatically. # is replaced by sequential numbers, and @ by letters. For example:

  • Group @ will create group with a naming scheme Group A, Group B, Group C . . .
  • Group # will create group with a naming scheme Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 . . .

You can specify if you would like to create

  • x number of Groups or
  • each group contain x number of students.
Preventing last small group

When selecting Members per group, depending on the number of users in the course, the last group can end up with significantly fewer members than expected. You can select Prevent last small group to avoid the situation. If the last group would be smaller than 70% of the expected size, it will not be created. Instead, Moodle will allocate additional members to existing groups rather than create a new group with few members.

Group Members

Select members from ... allows you to choose from roles assigned within the course, available cohorts, groups or groupings. Specify and Group/Member count work together.

The setting 'Select members from cohort' lists all cohorts which users enrolled on the current course are part of. The number in brackets is the number of users enrolled on the course in that cohort.

The 'Ignore users in groups' checkbox should be ticked to only select group members from users that are NOT already in a group in the course.

The 'Include only active enrollments' checkbox provides the option to choose whether to include suspended users in groups. The checkbox is only displayed to users with the capability to view suspended users.


Create in grouping and Grouping name allows you to create a new grouping and allocate the new auto-created groups to be created to it. Prior to creating the groups, you can view the groups.

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