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Using group mode with activities

This guide describes group modes and how to activate these for an entire Moodle space and for individual activities within a Moodle space. Finally, it shows how to add groups and groupings to an activity.

Which group modes are available?

Moodle has three group modes available (for individual activities and as a course-wide 'default' setting):

  • No groups - There are no groups. All students participate in the same version of activities and can, where appropriate, see each others' work.
  • Visible Groups - Group members interact with their own group, but can also view work from other groups (e.g, students can read, but not reply to another group's Forum posts).
  • Separate Groups - Group members can only see activities within their own group.

Group modes provide the greatest benefits when using:

  • Announcements: Announcements can be targetted to specific groups or groupings instead of to all participants.
  • Discussion forums: Add a single forum to your Moodle space, Discussion topics can only be accessed or participated in by certain groups or groupings.
  • Assignments: One member of a group submits on behalf of everyone. Each student in that group receives the same grade and feedback. 

Group mode is activated via the course or activity settings menu.

When adding an activity in which you intend to use group mode, it is important to make sure that the groups have been setup beforehand. This is particularly true when using the 'assignment' activity in group mode. If the groups are not setup in advance, participants will be in a 'Default' group and the latest submission will overwrite all others. It is NOT possible to create groups and recover submissions in retrospect.

Set the default group mode for a Moodle space

Users with editing rights can set the default group mode for activities within a Moodle space in the course settings.

When you set the default for the entire course, each activity will show the default mode.

You can still override the group mode for individual activities.

  1. Click on 'Edit Settings' in the action menu accessed via the gear icon
  2. Expand the Groups section.
  3. Choose the required group mode from the drop-down list.
  4. Optionally, select 'Yes' to 'Force this group mode' to each activity - overriding the activity level settings.

Turn on group mode at the activity level

  1. Click on 'Edit' to the right-hand side of the activity, and choose 'Edit settings'.
  2. Scroll down the settings page to 'Common Module Settings'.
  3. Choose the required group mode from the 'Group mode' drop-down menu.

Add groups and groupings to activities

  • Click the 'Edit settings' link for the activity.
  • In the common module settings section, set a group mode (Separate or visible groups).
  • Select the grouping from the grouping dropdown menu.
  • Click 'Save changes' at the bottom of the page.

The information on this page relates to Moodle v3.6 and was last updated March 2020.

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