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Success found in open source solution: OJT a Tōtara plugin

HWR and NZ Police evaluate their drivers on-the-job using a Tōtara plugin called OJT (on-the-job training). The plugin has been a great success, improving training for the learners while saving time for both organisations.


On-the-job training (OJT) is a means for employees to gain relevant skills or qualifications while working. You can assess OJT in person or digitally, so, Catalyst developed the OJT plugin for the Tōtara Talent Experience Platform (TXP) to better support online learning. The OJT plugin allows learners to record otherwise paper-based evidence of a skill or practice. Due to OJT being an open source plugin, it has evolved and been refined to support a range of organisations’ assessment requirements over the years. Additionally, Catalyst offers OJT as part of our core Tōtara offering.


Both H.W. Richardson Group (HWR) and NZ Police had initially recorded their assessments by hand. HWR manually processed thousands of assessments and the Police College assessments involved a lot of processes and time to collate all the results. So, both organisations who were already using Tōtara, adopted OJT to deliver and manage the on-the-job assessments.

Both organisations wanted to enhance the learner experience and gain deeper insights into their progress. So they engaged with Catalyst to enrich the existing OJT plugin.

A collaborative solution

HWR approached Catalyst first with a set of requirements to improve OJT plugin for their organisation to replace their manual in-cab driving assessments. They were so pleased with the solution that Raechel Wilson from HWR shared her experience with a Tōtara User Group. It was here when she connected with Ann-Marie Pickles from the Police College and a new collaboration between HWR and Police emerged. The two worked together to identify what features could improve the plugin further. And, because the Tōtara plugin is open source, their collaboration meant both organisations would benefit from new feature builds to the plugin.

As a result, Catalyst built on top of OJT’s functionality through:

A screenshot of team assessments in the OJT plugin showing the option to fill in the date for the ‘Next Assessment’.

  1. Building the capability to add the date for the next assessment enabling reoccurring qualifications. The date can be set as an automatic generic date or customised.
  2. Transforming the results from binary to granular options allowed them to add their preferred options to be presented to their learners. This change provides the learners with deeper insight into where they’re at in their learning journey.
  3. Updating the formatting on assessment pages to have a modern look. By carrying this formatting over to the printed version of the document, it made having physical and digital options more accessible.

A screenshot of a learner’s view of their current assessments in the OJT plugin.

4. Creating the option for learners to look over past work. This way learners have access to their entire qualification history.

5. Allowing site administrators to edit finalised evaluation dates. Now an admin can update 'next assessment' dates if incorrectly entered.

6. Expanding on the question types available on assessments. Instead of just text boxes and checklists, they added a scale users can choose from.

A screenshot of an assessment outcome in OJT. There are four options for the result of the course  no outcome yet, training passed, reassessment needed and training failed.

7. Users can choose which assessments are reoccurring and which ones aren’t. When qualifications are set, managers are now notified when they need to be reset.

8. Adding the ability to export reports as a CSV. This additional functionality allowed Police to have the data including custom fields in one file.

9. Improving the plugin filters by being able to only show learners under ‘Evaluate students’. The filters improved the UX of the website and showed the managers only who they needed to see.

A screenshot of the course overview for the OJT plugin. The next assessment date has RAG statuses with red, amber, and green text showing the due status.

10. Adding Red Amber Green (RAG) statuses to the next assessment date reporting. This update made it clear what assessments were upcoming as well as overdue.

Alongside the partnership between the two organisations, Catalyst delivered changes on an iterative basis. We would present each feature in isolation rather than in a lump sum at the end to provide time to test the new features through UAT. Because they were able to test the new features, they identified additional UX improvements as they had time to consider how they would impact other new features. The collaborative process enabled additional business needs to be identified early on rather than down the track.

Paperless assessments

Due to the collaborative nature between HWR, the Police College, and Catalyst, we got to the core of what they needed for their OJT. Now, after several months with OJT in action, here’s how the changes have improved their training.

Ann-Marie, from Police, says - “The team was great to work with,” and the “time saved is a huge benefit” to their day-to-day operations. The Police College has now moved their driving training assessments completely online, which has sped up the process immensely. Because of the success with their driving training, they’re looking to see where else they can implement OJT into their processes.

HWR has used OJT to replace most of their assessments. Now, their trainers work paperless and don’t have to store their assessments. The OJT plugin provided the connection HWR needed between personal (individualised records), digital (completed with technology), and physical (practical assessment) learning. They are now looking at what other applications this could be rolled out across the business Since its launch in December 2022, HWR has completed 3088 assessments all over New Zealand.

Raechel said “We provided case studies to Catalyst so the improvements could be fit for purpose. Catalyst took the time to fully understand the complexities of what was required and worked collaboratively with us to deliver a successful outcome.

Catalyst understood how important it was that the OJT needed to not be limited in its potential applications and worked with us to deliver on our requirements.

We were well supported through UAT trials and testing - and the changes that arose from these. The details, fixes, and tweaks added value to the final result.

Catalyst was with us all the way, ensuring the plugin was functional, easy to use, and worked for all parties involved - site administrators, trainers, managers, and the learners themselves.”

Learner focused support

Catalyst has over 20 years of experience working with Tōtara, and as a Tōtara Platinum Partner, we’re well-equipped to support you with your eLearning platform. Whether you’re after additional functionality with plugins, customisations, or content development, we’ll work with you to design your solution. Contact us today for a personalised learning experience.

A laptop screen with the OJT plugin showing a driving assessment


Automation of reoccurring qualifications

It can be hard to keep on top of reoccurring qualification deadlines when you manage a range of staff members. Catalyst transformed a manual process into an automated one. Including the notifying managers when their learners are due for reassessment.

Catalyst understood how important it was that the OJT needed to not be limited in its potential applications and worked with us to deliver on our requirements.

Raechel Wilson, H.W. Richardson Group, Learning and Development Co‑ordinator