Course formats: Flexible sections format

Maintained by Picture of Marina GlancyMarina Glancy
Organises course content in any number of sections that can be nested. Each section can be displayed expanded or collapsed
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Current versions available: 6

This course format looks very similar to Topics format except:

  • there is no parameter "Number of sections", sections can be added and removed as necessary
  • section can also be added inside another section
  • each section (regardless of its nesting level) can be shown expanded or collapsed. Teacher can change it in edit mode.
  • If section is displayed collapsed, it's name is displayed as a link to the separate page and on this separate 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.

On the attached screenshots the section "Assignments" has Label resource and two subsections - "New assignments" (displayed expanded) and "Old assignments" (collapsed). Note how course navigation looks like in this case.


Screenshot #0
Screenshot #1
Screenshot #2


Picture of Marina Glancy
Marina Glancy (Lead maintainer)
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  • Picture of Ammar Elhassan ElMerhbi
    Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 4:24 AM
    We've been using this format for a long time since our English course has many subjects that are nested, and it has worked so great at our school. Does version 3.4 work on 3.5?
  • Picture of Stephanie Morssinkhof
    Tue, Oct 23, 2018, 5:53 PM
    Does anyone know if it is possible to create collapsable items in the navdrawer with the flexible section format? Now you can only see the section names, but I would like to add the subsections to the navdrawer since otherwise it is hard navigating through a 2 year program with several courses, modules and dates.
    I know it is possible to add activities and sources to the navdraw which you can collapse but this does not show the structure of the program (again: courses-modules-dates). We are updating from 3.2 towards 3.5 (test site is already running on 3.5).
  • Picture of Gina Wilson
    Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 3:50 AM
    This plugin is my number one request from my instructors when setting up their courses. Now that we've moved to 3.5 (3.6 will be out soon) I was hoping by now that this module would be ready for at least 3.5. Is this module still being actively worked on? Is there a co-maintainer or someone that might be interested in being a co-maintainer (I'm not a programmer)? It's been over a year now since the maintainer was active in this discussion. Thank you for an excellent course format.
  • Picture of Neil Stapleton
    Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 3:04 PM
    Hi Gina, My organisation is also a major user of Flexible section, for it's ability to provide multi-level sections. We are also about to upgrade to 3.6 soon after release for our development systems and during next summer for our Production site. We only use 2 levels of nesting in flex-sections typically and are currrently look at whether we can do without the course format and find/develop an alternative. I've recently starting looking at the the older 'sub-pages' module that was developed by the OU, there's a branch on Github that works ok-ish with 3.5/6. To my mind this approach is slightly more attractive that the flex section, but still far from an ideal solution. Topics with the 'display one section' option is the next fall-back position that almost achieves a second level of nesting, but this too has it's challenges for navigation in relation to the nature of our content.

    We are also looking at Accessibility and Mobile seriously at the moment and my feeling is that Flex also presents significant challenges here too.

    No solutions I afraid, just in the spirit of sharing. I like you I feel that as Flex is still so widely used, it could do we some more dialogue around it's future and exactly what it sets out to achieve in the Moodle 3.5 onward world.

    My current thinking is step away form flex sections and try and do what we can we Core course formats, until something better comes along. Which I hope would be some form of multi-level nested sections functionality in core. Something highly accessible, usable and mobile app friendly.

  • Picture of Joseph McDonald
    Thu, Jan 10, 2019, 1:07 PM
    This is a great plugin which works with 3.6.1 on fordson theme, I've customised it a bit and added Icons on the side of the bars and also the side nav, the only issue is that the side nav won't show sub parent sections, only the parent shows but the plugin still works without that feature which is great, lack the updates which might cause issues in later versions of Moodle
  • Picture of Joseph McDonald
    Thu, Jan 10, 2019, 1:11 PM
    Flex slider working on 3.6.1
  • Picture of Thomas Maisons
    Thu, Jan 10, 2019, 9:53 PM
    On Moodle 3.4, when I turn on flexible section in a course, the title of section-0 disappear...
    Any idea?
  • Picture of Rafael Aschoff
    Wed, Apr 3, 2019, 4:17 AM
    By following the comments, and checking the last time the flexible plugin was update, we end up concluding that support has been dropped. Does anyone knows if there is something similar being supported for the new versions of Moodle? By the way, given the popularity of this plugin, it would not be too much of a stretch to think it could be included as a core course format.
  • Picture of Andreas Giesen
    Wed, May 15, 2019, 7:52 AM
    I have no issues using it with theme Lambda or theme Boost in 3.5 and 3.6. Though after updating to 3.6 I had to reinstall the plugin. I hope support will be picked up again to ensure future usability! And I definitely agree: it should be core.
  • Picture of Sophie Paine
    Mon, May 20, 2019, 12:53 AM
    When will the flexsections be upgraded to 3.5 and 3.6? We use it a lot also and yes - would be great to be core.
  • Picture of Jürg Weilenmann Keller
    Fri, Jun 7, 2019, 9:39 PM
    We would certainly appreciate to see further development of this course format.
    Please make it work on moodle mobile.
    And if possible, add options to format headers.
  • Picture of Nejc Horvat
    Fri, Sep 13, 2019, 7:07 PM
    On the "Stats" tab I have seen that it is being used on Moodle versions later than 3.4. How so?
  • Picture of David Delcò
    Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 6:46 PM
    Hello Marina,
    Congratulations for your flexible sections plugin. I saw it in action on a platform and I would like to put it on mine too, but I saw that it is not suitable for the version of Moodle 3.7. Will there also be a more updated version for more recent platforms?
    Good day.
  • Picture of Dan Bell
    Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 5:32 AM
    It is not working for me in Moodle 3.6.1 with the essentials theme. The review tab states it should work with my version (maybe not essentials). It installs, and is available to use. However topic names do not appear. I clicked the edit button in the topic, unchecked the Custom box next to the section name and type a name. On save the section name does not appear. I saved the section with both expanded and collapsed, and the section name never appears. Is it essentials? Is it my moodle version?
  • Picture of Dan Bell
    Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 9:58 PM
    Seems to not work in Essentials theme. Bummer. Im using Moodle 3.6, and if I change my theme to boost it works. We have already adopted Essentials though.
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