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D. Hiden Ramsey Library, University of North Carolina at Asheville

Moodle Teacher Guide: Use Groups and Groupings

This guide offers information, advice and resources on how to create an effective online course.

Moodle Groups

Students enrolled in a Moodle course can be organized into groups.  

Reasons to use Moodle groups:

  • Use one Moodle course to teach multiple course sections
  • Filter the gradebook, assignment submissions, or other activities for a particular section of students
  • Assign an activity to a specific student or students that won't be visible to the rest of the class (see Groupings)
  • Use groups in conjunction with the Forum to generate collaborative work in small groups

Moodle can be configured with no groups, visible groups or separate (hidden) groups.

  • No groups - there are no sub groups, everyone can interact
  • Visible - each group member works in their own group but can see other groups
    • For example, a student from one group can view forum postings from another group but they can't reply to the postings
  • Separate (hidden) - each group member can only see their own group, others are hidden


Click on the following links to view more information about using Moodle groups:

How to set up groups

How to assign groups to an activity

How to use groupings

How to Set up Groups

There are two ways to get groups set up in your Moodle course:

1. TLTR sets up groups:

  • Ask for groups in the Moodle Course Request form (emailed to faculty & staff before the beginning of each semester).

Moodle request form groups drop down list


2. Instructor sets up groups:

  • Create the group
    • Administration block > Users > Groups

groups link

    • Click Create group button
    • Give the group a name
    • Click Save changes


  • Add group members
    • Click on the group you wish to add users to
    • Click Add/remove users

create groups screen

    • Click on the individual users in the Potential members window
    • Click Add

adding group members screen

  • Click Back to groups button at the bottom to return to the groups screen



Return to Moodle Groups Menu

Assign Groups to Activities

Assign group mode for an entire course:

  • From the course homepage
  • Administration block > Edit settings
  • Under the Groups section (click the expansion arrow) > select a Group mode from the drop down list

groups dropdown list

  • Force group mode
    • If set to "Yes", the selected group mode will be applied to every activity in the course.  Individual activity group settings will be ignored.
  • Click Save changes



Assign group mode for an individual activity:

  • Edit the activity settings (such as a forum)
    • Turn editing on
    • click the activity's Update button update button
  • expand the Common module settings section
  • select a Group mode from the drop down list

group activity drop down list


  • Click Save and return to course


 Return to Moodle Groups Menu


Use groupings to make an activity visible to only a specific student or set of students in a Moodle course.  For example, use groupings to assign an extended-time quiz for a student needing this accommodation.  Groupings are created by first assigning the student to a group and then adding the group to a grouping.


Step 1: Create a group (see the How to Set up Groups section at the top of this page) that contains the students you want to have access the activity.


Step 2 : Create a grouping

  • From the Groups screen, click the Groupings tab

groupings tab

  • Click the Create grouping button
  • Enter a Grouping name
  • Click Save changes


Step 3: Add the group to a grouping

  • Under the Groupings tab > Click the Show groups in grouping button show groups in grouping button under the Edit column
  • Select the group (created in step 1)  from the Potential members window
  • Click Add

add group to grouping


  • Click Back to groupings button at the bottom of the screen



Step 4: Assign a grouping to an activity (for example an extended time quiz)

  • Edit the activity's settings
    • Turn editing on
    • click the activity's Edit settings button update button
  • expand the Common module settings section
  • select a Group mode from the drop down list
  • Select the name of the grouping from the Grouping drop down list

Grouping selection drop down list

  • Click Save and return to course


  • The grouping name will be listed with the activity on the course homepage

image showing grouping designation



Return to Moodle Groups Menu


Random Grouping

Sometimes you may want to randomly assign your students to groups for smaller discussions or group projects. Moodle will do this for you.

Course Administration>Users>Groups

Toward the bottom of the Group window, click on Auto-create groups

Group @ will use a naming scheme with letters of the alphabet, Group # will create groups that are numbered. Groups can be created by the number of groups or the number of members per group.

For example, if your naming scheme is Group @, and you have 20 members in your class, you can choose 5 as the number of groups, Moodle will create 4 groups named A, B, C, D, and disperse your students randomly into those groups. You may also choose to add students alphabetically by first or last name, or by student ID number.

If you select members per group, you can select Prevent last small group to keep groups from forming a small group. Moodle will distribute the uneven group to the other groups.




Creating and using groups