Pathway course format
  • 29 Jan 2024
  • 3 minutes to read

Pathway course format

Article summary

The Pathway course format provides an alternative to traditional course formats, offering a streamlined user experience and modern user interface. Users are encouraged to progress through Pathway courses in a sequential fashion, viewing a single activity or resource at a time, and progressing to the next activity once they've completed it. However, they can skip to other available activities if they wish.

A course using the Pathway format.

The panel on the left-hand side of the screen displays the learner's progress through the course. The panel lists all visible activities and resources in the course, grouped by section. Each activity has an icon indicating its status, e.g. a tick icon (pathway_tick) shows that the activity has been completed. If an activity is restricted, it will display with a lock icon. Clicking the lock icon will show a pop-up indicating why the activity cannot be accessed.

At the top of the left-hand panel there is a summary card displaying the course name, thumbnail image, course status (e.g. Not completed), and progress bar. If manual self-completion is enabled for the course, the Learner can click the Mark as completed button in the card. If the user viewing the course is not currently enrolled they can click the Enrol button to sign up for the course.

Learners can navigate between activities using the left-hand panel, using the arrow buttons in the top-right corner, or by clicking the Next button. If you want the activity content to take up the full width of the screen, you can collapse the left-hand panel by clicking the sidebar icon (sidebar_icon) in the top-left corner. You can expand the panel by clicking the icon again.

If manual self-completion is enabled for the current activity, the Learner can click the Mark as completed button at the bottom of the activity.

When to use the Pathway format

You should consider using the Pathway format in the following conditions:

  • Your course will contain multiple activities
  • The course will not be reliant on blocks, such as the Calendar block
  • You want learners to experience a greater sense of progression, and have a clear idea of where they currently are in the course
We recommend that you build new courses using this format rather than changing existing courses to this format. While you can convert Topics courses to the Pathway format, we strongly recommend that you don't do this for courses using the Weekly or Single activity formats. If you do convert an existing course, a warning message will highlight any incompatible activities, and these activities will not be visible to Learners.

Course administration

To administer a Pathway course, click the icon of three dots (three_dots(1)) on the left-hand panel to see all of the usual administration options.

The open Course administration menu on a Pathway course.

You can configure a Pathway course's sections and activities by clicking this icon and selecting Manage sections and activities. The course administration options are then available in the left-hand panel. Click Back to course once you've finished configuring the course activities, resources and sections.

Managing a Pathway course's sections and activities.

Learners working through a Pathway course can also access the Course administration menu by clicking the icon of three dots (three_dots(1)), allowing them to enrol/unenrol, view their grades, and more depending on how the course has been configured.

The Course administration menu when viewed by a Learner.

Activity administration

To access the Activity administration options, click the icon of three dots (three_dots(1)) in the top-right corner, above the activity. Here you can edit the activity settings, configure activity-level notifications, manage grading, and more.

The open Activity administration menu on a Pathway course.

Tips and guidance

Here we have provided some guidelines for creating courses using the Pathway course format:

  • We recommend creating Pathway courses from scratch rather than converting existing courses from other formats. If you do need to convert an existing course to the Pathway format, we strongly recommend that you test the course thoroughly.
  • We recommend creating a Page resource as the first activity, which you can then use to provide an introduction to the course.
  • Activity descriptions aren't shown, so ensure you don't include any essential information in these fields.
  • Blocks are not displayed on Pathway courses. Some options that are reliant on blocks are not supported.
  • Label resources are used for adding text to the course page in other course formats. In the Pathway format you should instead use the Page resource.
  • Some activity types are not fully compatible with this format, so consider using the Topics format if any of these limitations will impact your course. The following activity and resource types are not available when using the Pathway course format:
    • Wiki activity
    • Lesson activity
    • Book resource
    • Folder resource
    • Database resource
    • Labels

C007 - Courses and categories(2)The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Courses and categories in Totara. Here you can see best practice, learn more and give it a go yourself.

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