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What is Tōtara LMS (Learning Management System)?


Blue background image with a white lightning bolt and text what is Totara LMS with supporting copy learn the basics of the Totara Learning Management ecosystem with Catalyst. Includes Catalyst and Totara logos.

Tools in the education and professional growth industry are continually growing. And, rightly so. After all, growth is the goal of education. So, as the learning community needs change, the tools have to keep up at a minimum and stay a step ahead at best. Learning Management System’s (LMS) in particular play an important role in learner’s development. And organisations like yours, committed to a development strategy deserve a solution that helps you achieve your goals. Totara’s Talent Experience Platform consisting of Totara Learn, Totara Perform and and Tōtara Engage and meet your current and future needs. This Totara ecosystem is also widely adopted across more than 19 million users because of its commitment to stay ahead of the learning community needs. So, in this blog, we’re getting back to basics and exploring: what is Tōtara? Where did it start? And where is it heading?

What Is Tōtara LMS?

Tōtara was founded in New Zealand in 2010 with a goal to transform learning management systems. Built on open-source software and the foundation of Moodle's LMS, it provides flexible customisation for organisations professional development. All the way from on-boarding, to certification, peer-to-peer learning, to compliance, and even performance management.

Totara Learn provides a functionally rich eLearning platform which can be implemented quickly and on Catalyst Cloud as a SaaS solution. Tōtara is supported by Totara HQ, Tōtara Partners like Catalyst, and a strong global community continually helping the platform to grow through users and features.

Tōtara allows learning providers to adapt the platform exactly as they need to help get the best out of their learners journey. Since day one, our dedicated Catalyst Tōtara team have helped pioneer custom solutions and integrations for organisations globally. Today, Tōtara stands as a testament to its evolution with over 19 million users worldwide.

As Tōtara grew with the learning community’s needs at its core, so too did its offerings. Now organisations have more tailor-made options than ever with the Totara Talent Experience Platform consisting of Totara Learn, Totara Perform and and Tōtara Engage. These are designed to cater to specific aspects of organisational learning and development. Here's a breakdown of what they have to offer;

Tōtara Learn

Tōtara Learn is a learning management system designed to manage, deliver, and track eLearning content and courses. It serves as a central hub for training and development and is suitable for organisations aiming to deliver structured and formal training programs. For example, compliance training, on-boarding, certifications, and skill development.

Tōtara Learn Features:

  • Course management - Courses are key for learning delivery, featuring activities and resources. Configure criteria for activities and courses, enrol learners and organise courses into categories for better access.
  • Personalised learning plans - Learners and managers collaborate, designing plans with courses, competencies, objectives, and programs. Admins establish templates, assigned to learners with content aligning with their goals.
  • Programs and certifications - Arrange courses in a specific order for enrolled learners. And, leverage features that support certifications requiring periodic re-completion. Optionally, set up a distinct recertification pathway to avoid redoing initial course work.
  • Content marketplaces - Expand your Totara Learn instance with external content. Default options include GO1 and LinkedIn Learning. You can also create custom marketplaces to offer additional content sources.

Totara Engage

Tōtara Engage is a Learning Experience Platform (LXP), focused on informal and social learning. It's tailored towards organisations nurturing continuous learning, peer knowledge exchange, and self-directed exploration.

Tōtara Engage Features:

  1. Content Curation - Empower users to curate and generate content, from videos to surveys. Sharing relevant information becomes seamless and efficient.
  2. Social Learning - Encourage teamwork through private or public workspaces, offering real-time discussions and information exchange in a single location.
  3. User-Generated Content - Users create public or private playlists, curating content for themselves or as experts to share with others.
  4. Personalized recommendations - Personalized content recommendations via the "Recommended for You" block enrich the learning experience.
  5. Integrations - Tōtara Engage also integrates with Microsoft Teams, enabling learning within the flow of work, meeting users where they are.

Totara Perform

Tōtara Perform is a Performance Management System (PMS), supporting traditional and continuous performance management processes.

Tōtara Perform Features:

  1. Supports with flexibility the annual performance appraisal cycle.
  2. Supports continuous performance management processes – often based on employee start date.
  3. Ties in direct support from people leaders through Check-ins
  4. Collects performance insight and evidence through open 360 degree feedback
  5. Enhances the connection to both learning and recognition of skills through Competencies.

The Tōtara Ecosystem

Whilst Tōtara offers tailored offerings by mixing Learn, Engage & Perform, at it’s core, the proposition remains the same. It's a powerful platform designed to address diverse learning needs.

Top 10 Benefits Of Tōtara LMS:

  1. Customisation: Tailor the platform exactly to your needs, branding, and learning objectives. Additionally, you can also refine learning paths for strategic alignment.
  2. Adaptive Learning: Deliver personalised content and experiences catering to individual learning styles and abilities.
  3. Performance Enhancement: Integrate performance management tools to monitor and enhance student, or employee performance, within the same platform.
  4. Streamlined Compliance: Tōtara ensures regulatory adherence with comprehensive tracking and reporting tools.
  5. Collaboration Tools: Includes discussion forums, chat features, and collaborative projects. This fosters interaction and engagement among learners, and ultimately a sense of community.
  6. Mobile Accessibility: With a mobile-responsive design, Tōtara backs learning-on-the-go. It also means learners can access content and engage in learning activities across their preferred device.
  7. Rich Content Diversity: Tōtara supports various content formats including videos, documents, quizzes, and interactive elements. This helps you enrich learning experiences.
  8. Seamless Integration: Integrates with other systems and tools, like Moodle, if needed to create a cohesive learning ecosystem and user experience.
  9. Data-Driven Insights: With data analytics and reporting features, it provides insights into learner progress and engagement. Ultimately better enabling informed decision-making.
  10. Cultivating Lifelong Learning: Tōtara promotes continuous learning by offering resources, skill-building modules, and avenues for learners to engage beyond formal courses.

Tōtara is a tool to help you nurture the growth and success of your students or employees.

Getting Tōŧara Fit To Your Business Needs

At Catalyst, we are Platinum Certified Partners for Tōtara. And, we have dedicated Tōtara LMS teams based in New Zealand, the UK and Australia. We’ve been collaborating with businesses like yours for over 20 years to match, design and develop eLearning solutions fit for your strategy. As open-source experts, we can also support you with the ongoing maintenance and build features into your LMS that work exactly as you need.

If you’re ready to discuss how you can maximise your eLearning strategy, contact us.