Moodle: Course formats (Overview)


A Moodle course can look very different according to the course format (layout). The course format determines the layout of the course page. The formats available are as follows: 

  • Flexible sections 
  • Grid 
  • Single activity 
  • Tiles  
  • Collapsed 
  • Topics 
  • Weekly 

Teachers can select a course format from Edit mode > Open Course Settings >Settings > Course format 

Below are examples of the formats

Flexible sections

Allows to have nested sections and each section may be displayed expanded (with all content on the parent section page) or collapsed (as a link to a separate page)  

This course format looks very similar to Topics format except: 

  • sections can be added inside other sections 
  • each section (regardless of its nesting level) can be shown either on the same page as parent or on a separate page. Teacher can change it in edit mode. 
  • If section is displayed on a separate page, it’s name is displayed as a link and on this page the link “Back to … ” is displayed 

If teacher hides a section all nested sections and activities become hidden as well. 

Please note that if section has both activities and subsections activities are displayed first. 

See Moodle: Flexible sections for more details


A modular and visual course format. Hides all topics and creates a grid of icons (one for each topic) with short titles. Clicking on an icon brings up the content from the corresponding topic in a “lightbox” style display.  

See Moodle: Grid format for more details

Single activity

Has one section and allows the teacher to add one activity only to the course. When the single activity format is selected, a dropdown menu appears for the teacher to choose the activity they wish to use.

See Moodle: Single activity format for more details


A course format which displays course topics as “Tiles”, in a grid rather than as a list. When clicked, tile content is displayed under the tile with an animated transition. The layout adapts to different screen sizes and orientations. Within each tile, activities can also be set to display as “sub-tiles”. For each tile, the teacher can pick an icon from a predefined set or upload a background photo. 

See Moodle: Tiles format for more details


This format is similar to the standard Topics format except that all topics (except ‘0’) can be ‘toggled’ on and off. This reduces clutter in courses that have a large number of topics, lots of content in the topics or a combination of the two. 

See Moodle: Collapsed Topics for more details


The course is organised into topic sections that a teacher can give titles to. Each topic section consists of activities, resources and labels.  

This is great to use if your course is objective based and each objective may take different amounts of time to complete. An example of this would be scaffolding where the students are building upon the knowledge from earlier topics.  

See Moodle: Topics format for more details


The course page is organised into weekly sections, The course is organised week by week, with the first week starting on the course start date and each section having a date heading. Moodle will create a section for each week of your course. You can add content, forums, quizzes, and so on in the section for each week. The current week is highlighted.  

If you want all your students to work on the same materials at the same time, this would be a good format to choose. 

Make sure your course start date is correct. If it is not your weeks will have the wrong date on it. This is especially important if you are restoring a course to use with a new section of students. 

See Moodle: Weekly format for more details

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