Create groups and groupings in Moodle

In Moodle, groups are a way of putting students into specific teams. Groups can be used for targeted communication, to manage student activity and interaction and restrict access to activities and resources. For example:

  • You can set submission to require all members of a group to sign privacy, integrity, and collaboration documents
  • Assignment feedback and results will automatically be available to all group members
  • Put all students who failed a test into a single group. You can now send messages to just the members of that group, advising on a make-up test.
  • Put students into a group based on their tutorial including their tutor. In a forum, students are restricted to only seeing and discussing topics with their class peers. Tutors can use group filters to view their tutorial group's assignment submissions.
  • Put students who are in the evening classes into a group. Provide a PDF outlining evening security that only this group can see.

Groups and activities and resources

You can make resources and activities visible to all groups, or to individual groups, so that members will only see content for their specific group. You can set group/grouping access restriction for most Moodle activities and resources with the group mode under common module settings in the activity settings.

For example, groups and groupings are often used with forums. Rather than having students be overwhelmed by huge numbers of forum posts, it is possible to restrict the forum so that students are only interacting with the peers in their tutorial, or their peers in an assessment project. As shown above in the image below, the settings control which groups can see the forum posts, and which groups can respond.

NOTE: These settings will affect ALL members in groups, including tutors.

Click through the timeline to view how the different Group modes will affect your activity.

Where to find Group settings

  1. Expand the navigation menu on the left hand side of your Moodle unit.
  2. Click on Participants.

  3. Click on the Administration cog, then select Groups.

  4. Groups settings can also be found under the unit administration cog by clicking More and then navigating to the Users tab.


Groups must be created in Moodle, either manually or automatically. Students can also choose their own groups with the Group self-selection activity. Students can be part of many different groups at the same time and may already be in groups, for example their Callista Cohort group (Campus) or Allocate+ group(Class, tutorial, tutor). You may wish to create additional groups, for example a student project team group.


A Grouping is a collection of groups. This allows you to logically collect Groups together, for example a Grouping of all Tutorial Groups. By using Groupings, you can choose to show a resource or activity only to the groups within the selected grouping. Settings for groups and groupings are set at both the unit and resource/activity level.

Navigate to the Groupings page by clicking on the Groupings tab.

Groups and grouping overview

View all group memberships or students not in a group, which is useful for picking up late enrollees who may have been omitted from groups initially.

Click on the Overview tab.

  • All groupings will be displayed, with a list of groups in the grouping, group members and user count.
  • You can filter by Grouping or Group with the drop down lists.
  • Groups not in a grouping will appear at the bottom of the screen.
  • Students not in any group will appear at the bottom of the screen.

Import groups into Moodle

You can import groups into Moodle easily using a .CSV file. Prepare an Excel .CSV file with the following two columns:

  • Username OR Email: This column is the student identifier. You can choose to use either username or email.
  • Group: This indicates which group the student will be imported  into. Groups can be numbers or words.

    Note: You do not need to create empty groups in your Moodle unit before importing groups.

You may find it helpful to first export a list of students from Moodle to quickly extract student identifiers. To do this:

  1. Navigate to your Moodle unit Participants page.
  2. You can use the filter options to filter using participants by roles. For example, selecting to filter by Role:student will exclude participants with Lecturer, Tutor or other non-student roles.
  3. Select all students with the checkbox in the column heading.
  4. With the selected users drop down list, select Download data as Comma separated values (.csv).

Import Enrolls

  1. Once you have prepared your .CSV file, navigate to your Moodle unit Participants page.
  2. Click on the Administration cog, then select Import Enrolls.

  3. Select the following settings for Import CSV Enrollment File:
    • User field: Select Username or Email address
    • Role: Leave as Student
    • Assign to groups: Select Yes. This will make more Group options available
    • Use group: You can select an existing group in your Moodle unit or Use file data. To import new groups from your .CSV file, select Use file data
    • Create groups: Select Yes if you would like to import new groups from your .CSV file.

  4. Drag and drop the .CSV file into the Import File area.
  5. Click Import. You will see following message below. If any additional lines appear, make note of any student identifiers mentioned as these students will need to be manually added to imported groups later.

    Line 1: Unable to parse the line contents 'Email address,group'.

  6. Click Continue. You will now see a list of all the groups for your Moodle unit. Verify your groups have been imported and manually add any missing students who were not imported.