Totara Learn - What is Totara?

What is Totara

Totara Learn is……...

Totara Learn is an open source enterprise Learning Management System (LMS) designed for corporate, government and not for profit organisations. Totara Learn is available through a global network of partners offering services which include implementation, hosting, support and customisation.

This means when you choose Totara Learn as your LMS you will have a local partner to guide you on your digital learning journey.

First launched as Totara LMS, Totara Learn was renamed to emphasise it’s a platform that focuses on more than just the management of learning.

Every organisation is different and has different LMS requirements. Totara Learn’s open architecture means it is configurable and customisable to suit your needs. Whatever your needs are, you are assured Totara Learn can meet those needs. Often, when you compare two instances of Totara Learn they don’t look like the same platform. If there is a new feature you know of, you can have your Totara partner build the feature for you.

Some Totara Learn core functionality is—

  • Sophisticated blended learning journeys including integrated social learning
  •  Learning pathways that can link to job roles
  • Tools for managers to track what learning their team is doing
  • Certifications to manage recurring compliance training
  • Management of face-to-face training
  • A searchable course catalogue
  • Integrated performance management
  • Comprehensive reporting.

Totara Learn is used for employee training, customer training, and partner training and goes beyond just compliance training, which means you can provide a learner centred experience.

Does Totara Learn include a content library?

Totara Learn has the Totara Content marketplace. The first vendor to provide content using this feature is the content aggregation platform GO1. When you create a course, you have the option to bring in content from GO1 content library which includes courses that address Australian workplace compliance issues. Using the external activity tool, you can also bring in content from LinkedIn Learning and other sources that work with the Learning Technologies Interoperability (LTI) standard.

Does Totara Learn include a Learning Record Store (LRS)?

Totara Learn includes a Learning Record Store. In the past, organisations had a single learning platform but in reality people don’t have a single place to learn. Think about your learning experiences and learning technologies as an ecosystem of components that all work together with your learning record store as the core place housing your learning data and your LMS as just one source of your data. At Sprout Labs we include a learning record store for all our clients who are on subscription plans above 500 users. We configure Totara Learn using a plugin to be an xAPI provider.

If you don’t know what a Learning Record Store is, please read Sprout Labs blog post on What is a Learning Record Store and why do I need one.

Can Totara Learn integrate with other enterprise systems?

Totara Learn’s open architecture means it’s fast and easy to integrate with other enterprise platforms e.g. your Human Resources Information System (HRIS) or your Customer Relationship Management System (CRM). The most common integration required with an LMS is integration with your HRIS. Totara Learn has a feature called HR Import which can rapidly bring in data about your organisations structure and jobs from an external database or with comma separated value files (CSV). This reduces the cost and complexity of integration with your HRIS system. Totara Learn’s HR Import does need data in a certain format. At Sprout Labs we have a system called Sieve which enables extraction of data from your HRIS, its then reformatted and loaded into Totara Learn.

Is Totara Learn scalable?

Many organisations choose open source enterprise LMS because they seem to be what large enterprises use. Scalability in terms of an LMS has three aspects.

  1. Can a platform manage learning in large complex organisations?
  2. Can the underlying technology deal with large numbers of users?
  3. Is the platform affordable for large numbers of users?

Totara Learn for managing large complex organisations

Totara Learn’s hierarchy organisational features means you can create and report on complex organisational structures. This is all driven by a flexible rule-based system. The hierarchical levels are unlimited. This means senior managers can report on their part of the organisation and line managers can see what their team is doing.

How Totara Learn’s underlying technology can deal with a larger number of users.

Totara Learn uses common web technologies e.g. PHP. PHP is the core of Facebook. It’s a proven scalable technology. The scalability of your Totara Learn instances is determined on how your partner server infrastructure works. At Sprout Labs we use Sydney based Amazon Web Services to build a highly scalable and reliable service. As demand increases on our server clusters, the system automatically adds more servers. If the server has an issue it’s automatically replaced. This type of approach gives you a lightly scalable, reliable service.

How to choose an Australian Totara partner

One of the challenges of Totara Learn is choosing which partner to work with or even which one you should send your Request for Proposal. Essentially, each partner is working with the same platform. The difference is the partner’s expertise, how they work and what extras they can offer. Extras can range from custom plugins, to additional platforms the partner may bundle in with Totara Learn.

Learning technologies are different from other enterprise technologies. When implementing an LMS the first time or your migrating an LMS, it’s not just a technical challenge. Starting out, it’s a transformation of learning in your organisation or an evolution of your learning if migrating. When your choosing a partner, you need to ensure the partner is both technically competent and able to advise you how digital technologies can improve and transform your learning.

Totara Learn is affordable for large numbers of users

Totara Learn subscription costs reduces as the number of users increase. The subscription cost per user can quickly goes as low $1 per active user per year. The flexibility of Totara means your partner can determine how your learners use the platform and then build a custom hosting plan. A good example of this, is if your employee’s only access the platform once a year to do a few modules, this doesn’t create a huge server load compared to everyone accessing the LMS each day.