The secret to building a next-level learning management system
Updated: Nov 5
With the launch of the brand-new Totara Learn 13 imminent, we know lots of you are keen to get your hands on the latest version of our learning management system. Totara Learn 13 brings with it a whole bunch of powerful new features and functionality, including the much-requested Totara Mobile app, and we wanted to share with you some of our secrets for building a next-level learning management system.
Totara Learn 13 is the very first version of our learning management system that will be part of Totara’s Talent Experience Platform. Our Talent Experience Platform comprises Totara Learn, Totara Engage (a learning experience platform) and Totara Perform (a performance management system). Totara Learn works seamlessly with other systems, both in and outside the Totara ecosystem, meaning you can increase automation, save time on manual processes and boost the impact of all your systems.
For instance, Totara Learn connects with Totara Engage, meaning you can support both formal, structured learning and informal knowledge sharing and collaboration from a single platform. Equally, you can manage performance with Totara Perform, and connect performance goals with appropriate training for a more cohesive development strategy. You could even connect your LMS with your HR, payroll or sales systems for a fully integrated ecosystem.
Choosing the right theme
In the grand scheme of things, your LMS theme might not seem too important - but a theme can make or break the success of your system. If the look and feel of your LMS isn’t in keeping with your organisation’s brand or your learning content, it can put off potential learners.
Opting for an open learning management system like Totara Learn means that you can go beyond the traditional “logo and colours” approach of LMS theming. Instead you can customise your layout, navigation, imagery, fonts and icons for an LMS consistent with the rest of your online experience. A visually appealing, consistent theme will help you get your learners on your side from the moment they set eyes on your LMS, helping you lock in engagement rates right from the start.
Playing with plugins
Very often, there is no need to start from scratch with any customised LMS solution you may need. It may be as simple as finding the right plugin, installing it and switching it on.
Totara's plugins library helps you find the right solution without having to build it yourself.
There is also the vast range of Moodle plugins; some will work with Totara 'out of the box', others we can customise to make them work for you within your Totara site.
These plugins and extensions solve a wide range of challenges, from gamification to e-learning content authoring and comprehensive course libraries. With plugins, customisation doesn't have to be scary or difficult, and within a few clicks you can completely transform your LMS.
Setting audience rules
Audience management has always been one of the most popular features in Totara Learn, and Totara Learn 13 builds on this with new dynamic audience rules. This allows you to automatically enrol users into the most relevant learning activities, based on criteria such as previous course and program enrolment, how many direct reports a manager has and when the user’s account was created.
Dynamic audiences free up learning administrators' time, allowing them to stop manually moving learners between audiences within the LMS and instead have them move automatically according to preset rules. This time saved can be used on more important activities, such as developing new learning content or analysing learning activity.
One of the most hotly anticipated new features in Totara Learn 13 is enhanced multitenancy. This allows you to offer learning to both internal and external learners, meaning you can connect your stakeholders with your core business values and processes.
Totara Learn 13 provides a powerful extended enterprise solution for organizations offering a variety of training models. Your customers, departments, sub-organizations, subsidiaries, partners, resellers and even different brands within your group can now be added as tenants within the same LMS. Each tenant can be given autonomy over their learners and content, with personalized tenant dashboards for a dedicated overview of each tenant’s members and learning activity.
A great user experience
If you visit a website covered in pop-ups, with confusing navigation and an unclear user journey, it’s likely you'll click straight off it. The same applies to your LMS. That’s why Totara Learn 13 places a special focus on the user experience, including robust accessibility testing and improved design processes.
No matter what’s on your LMS, straightforward navigation, visible content and the ability to do what you want to do when you want to do it is vital.
In Totara Learn 13, we’ve ensured that learning administrators and end users alike have everything they need to move quickly and easily through the LMS, whether that’s navigating through a learning plan, browsing the course catalog or even updating a user profile.
Anywhere, anytime access
Totara Learn 13 sees the introduction of the Totara Mobile app, which puts current learning straight into the hands of your learners. Your people may not have constant access to a computer in their roles, or they simply may not have time to complete all of their learning in one go.
Totara Mobile helps you boost completion rates by giving learners access to their current learning on the go. The app, which is available on both iOS and Android operating systems, gives learners offline access to SCORM activities and direct access to their courses, programs and certifications, giving everyone the freedom and flexibility to learn whenever and wherever they want.
And the best part? It’s completely free for users of Totara Learn 13.
Written with contribution from the team at Totara HQ. Find the original post on the Totara blog.