Course formats

From MoodleDocs

A course format refers to the layout of a course. Teachers can select a course format from Course navigation > Settings > Course format.

An administrator can enable, disable or delete course formats for courses from Site administration > Plugins > Course formats > Manage course formats. They can also change the order in which available course formats are displayed to teachers in the course settings.

New feature
in Moodle 4.2!

From Site administration > Plugins > Course formats > Topics format and > Weekly format, the admin to disable or enable the indenting of items on course pages. (Indenting is enabled by default in new sites from 4.2 onwards.) The admin can also reset any indentation previously set on Topics and Weekly format course pages.

Standard course formats

Weekly format

The course is organised week by week, with 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.

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

If you have students starting the course at different times, you can use the feature Course relative dates to display dates for each course section relative to the student's start date in the course.

Topics format

The course is organised into topic sections that a teacher can give titles to. Each topic section consists of activities, resources and labels. In new installations of Moodle, this is the default format.

TIP: 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.

"Show only one section"

With the Weekly, Topics and any contributed format that implements the functionalty, it is possible via Course navigation > Settings' to "show one section per page".

Single section page


  • The course home page shows just the section names and any text in the section description along with activity and resource numbers, with the names being click-able. This is what you see the first time you access the course. Once you have selected a topic by clicking on its name, you then see one section at a time and access the other sections from the Course index on the left.
  • If editing is ON, then the Main course page will display all the content in all the sections.
  • There is a 'Jump to...' menu at the bottom of each single section page

Social format

This format is oriented around one main forum,the social forum, which appears listed on the main page. It is useful for situations that are more free form. They may not even be courses.

When selecting the social format, it is possible to specify how many discussions you wish to display on the course page:


The social forum can be edited by clicking the 'Update this forum' button on the social forum page. The forum introduction is displayed at the top of the course page. Activities and resources can be added on the side by using the Social activities block.

Single activity format

The single activity format only has 1 section, and allows the teacher to add one activity only to the course. When the single activity format is selected, a drop down menu appears for the teacher to choose the activity they wish to use. See the "See also" section below for a screencast and working example of the single activity course format.

Selecting the Single activity format

Note: This course format replaces the SCORM format in earlier versions of Moodle, as it is possible here to select a SCORM package as the single activity.

Single activity format with a forum as the activity and social format are very similar. The only difference is when the course contains other activities. The single activity format displays them as "orphaned" and for teachers only; the social format displays them in an activities block and available for students.

Contributed Course Formats

The Moodle community has developed a number of course formats, available in the plugins directory.

Buttons course format

The Buttons course format creates a menu with buttons in JavaScript to access the sections, one by one. It has features to create group of sections (example: modules, period) and change the button colors. For more information, please visit Buttons course format.

Buttons course format 9 buttons section 2.png

Daily format

The daily format is a modification of the weekly format that shows sections by day rather than by week.

Grid format

The Grid course format is 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.

Menutopic format

The menutopic format allows you to display the topics/sections in a menu.

Noticeboard format

The Noticeboard format presents the latest post in the news forum at the top of the course.

Onetopic format

The onetopic format shows each topic in a tab, keeping the current tab between calls to resources, in such a way that when it returns from a module as the blog or the glossary it returns to tab from where you started. This format is based on the Moodle standard format: “Topics”.

Tiles format

The tiles format displays course topics as "Tiles", 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". Icons for each tile can be selected from a predefined set (i.e. the teacher does not need to upload them).

Topic format (colors)

The colored topic format is based on the 'Topics' standard format and allows a teacher to specify the foreground and background colours for each course section.

Flexible sections format

The flexible sections format for Moodle 2.4+ 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)

Kickstart format (Course Wizard)

The kickstart course format is a special course format which helps teachers to create courses. Instead of the empty skeleton teachers usually find (and sometimes even students), this course format provides up to three course templates to make creating a course a lot easier. Documentation can be found here

Other contributed course formats are available from the modules and plugins database.

See also

  • Example of a single activity course format on the School demo site: Moodle History Quiz (Log in with username: parent and password: moodle)