What are groups?
  • 05 Jul 2023
  • 2 minutes to read

What are groups?

Article summary

Groups are a way to collect a number of users together into a single group within a course. You can use groups at either the course or activity level. 

For example, you might want to split your cohort of learners into smaller groups for a forum activity instead of having all learners share a single forum.

When you have courses with really large numbers of learners, you may even want to create groupings of groups.

Groups page

To access the groups interface you need to access the course or activity for which you want to set up groups, then in the Administration block navigate to Course administration > Users > Groups.

The table may be filtered to display particular groupings or groups.

Group modes

You can use Group modes to determine whether users are split into groups, and whether members of different groups and see and interact with other groups.

You can set the Group mode option at the course level by going to the course, then Administration > Course administration > Edit settings. Alternatively you can configure this setting for an individual activity or resource by clicking Edit settings on the activity (with Turn editing on selected), then using the Group mode setting in the Common module settings section.


No groups

Groups are not used. All users will complete the course as a single community.

Groupings will not be available if you select this setting.

Separate groups

If the group mode is set to Separate groups, students will only see the activities they have been assigned to. Group members can only see and interact with their own group's content, for example Learners in group A would not see a forum activity assigned to group B.

Trainers will see the name of the grouping in brackets after the activity name on the course page. A count of activities assigned to each grouping is kept on the groupings page.

Visible groups

Group members can see content from other groups but can only interact with their own group's content. For example, learners in group A would be able to view a forum activity assigned to group B, but would not be able to post or comment in the forum.


If you set up the group mode at the course level then this will be applied as default to all activities, but can be changed within an activity (unless Force group mode is set to Yes). If you enable groups only on individual activities then they will only affect those activities. 

© Copyright 2024 Totara Learning Solutions. All rights reserved. Some content originally obtained via GPLv3 license and continues to be available under GPLv3. All other content is the sole copyright of Totara Learning Solutions. 

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