Totara Learn Open Discussions

Introducing to Totara Learn 13 webinar - recording link and Q&A

Meredith Henson
Introducing to Totara Learn 13 webinar - recording link and Q&A
by Meredith Henson - Sunday, 11 October 2020, 8:32 AM
Group Totara

Hi all,

For those of you unable to attend, the recording of the session 'Introducing Totara Learn 13: Taking your organisation's learning and development to the next level' is now available.

We had a record number of attendees and some fantastic questions during the event.  Please find below answers to those questions I didn't have time to respond to during the session.  Thank you again for everyone that joined Matt Linaker and I.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to post right here in the Totara Learn Open Discussions forum.

I'm interested in hearing more about custom theming.

We've made some great advancements in applying custom themes through the administrator user interface with the new Ventura theme (please see but Partners are also able to create bespoke custom themes for your organisation.  I suggest having a look through the case studies on our website for a taste of the sorts of amazing custom themes you can create for your Totara site.

Could you tell us a bit more about the evidence / evidence bank in the forum please?

The Evidence bank allows you to capture learning that occurs outside the system.  This might be external training or learning that happens on-the-job.  The Evidence bank has been updated in v13 to be its own separate feature (it previously sat within a user's Record of Learning) and can now have a custom field/input form for every type of evidence you create/allow on your site.  You can read more about this at

What is the general level of compatibility between Totara and Moodle core activities? Referring mostly to Quiz, Book, Forums, etc.

Some of the core activities like Book, Forums and Choice aren't very different between Totara and Moodle in terms of core functionality however Totara includes a range of access restrictions that Moodle does not and there have been some updates here and there within Moodle - particularly around quiz grading, which means compatibility will be limited.   Having said that, we do maintain an upgrade path from Moodle to Totara so you can transition your site and core activities.

Does multitenancy also allow you to select the standard email address used for sending automated emails. (e.g seminar booking, or cancellation notes) (now the admin mail address is used)

At this stage, notifications to tenanted members are sent from the site admin email, however this is just Phase 1 of our multitenancy functionality, so we could see updates to notifications in future releases, depending on demand.

Does the Mobile app adhere to the site theme?

The Mobile app has separate branding options so you can align it to your core look and feel and help ensure a consistent user experience. There’s a dedicated Totara Mobile help documentation area where you can read more.

Can a tenant have permissions to edit their course - but not shared courses?

Absolutely - in fact this is the core model.  Domain managers can only create and edit courses within their nominated tenant(s), whereas only users with permissions at the site level context can work on the shared courses.

Can users have different login with tenant id?

Users on the same site will have the same site url, however, once logged in, tenanted users can see a unique theme, logo, dashboard and learning catalogue.

Does multi-tenancy reporting rely on global report restrictions or is there a new solution to restrict report results by tenant? Can those reports be set to cache?

For report sources that include tenant specific information (such as course, program, certification and seminar etc), there is a new Content filter for Tenant.  This means site administrators can create reports that show different user data depending on the viewer.   Tenant is a new context across the site so restrictions apply across this context.  All other report settings apply to tenant filtered reports so you can cache as you like.

Can you save multiple search options or only one default search can be saved?

You can save as many report searches as you like, but you can only have one default.  Please see the reports help documentation for more details.

Is there a way to preview a report source and templates without creating one?

If you click on the template tile, you can see the default columns that will be included in the report in the description box.

Can these reports be generated and sent to users via e-mail?

Sure can! Reports can be generated and sent to users via email either by a manual download/resend process or automatically on a scheduled basis.  A note that scheduled reports will send the information as you would see it.  Content can only be automatically filtered by Position, Organisation, Tenant etc if the report is viewed live.

Is there any improvements to course level reports?

Yes.  A couple of new/updated reports are available for Seminars and there have been minor updates to some site level course/activity report sources.

Can we create Leaderboard with badges/awards?

You can use the Latest Badges block or the Activity Results blocks to create a type of Leaderboard.  If like me, you’re a big fan of gamified elements across courses I suggest you check out our (free!) guide on gamification.

Can you build custom reports across more databases than in 12?

There are a number of new report sources in Totara 13, as well as some sources we’ve tidied up in terms of columns and some we’ve consolidated.  You’ll see those report sources we’ve replaced with improved versions marked with ‘Deprecated’.

Can we be able to generate heatmap graph?

The report types currently available within Totara 13 include Line, Horizontal bar, Pie, Scatter, Area, Donut, Progres Donut and (within Perform) Spider web.  I’m interested in what you might want to view with a heatmap graph?  What would you hope to see using this type of graph?

Can you isolate the chart from the table displayed below?

Sure!  You can add a graph as a stand alone image to a Dashboard using the ‘Report graph’ block.  This is particularly nice for Manager/Admin type Dashboards which can get a little bogged down in lists and links and text.

Can new report sources be created with v. 13?

New report sources can be created by your Partner or a local technician (if you’re self hosting) as required.  Rather than new sources, we tend to see multi-source reports being created however.  We’ve got some freshly revised technical docs on this area if you’re interested  in reading more?

How many additional language packs have been added since T12?

We haven’t added any new language packs for T13 but our language maintainers are making a start on v13 translations now. We’re always looking for new packs so if there’s a particular language you’d like to help add to the list - please do get in touch. 

Can Seminars be set up to sit outside of a course, so that it can be used as a way of signing up for a course, that they are not yet enrolled onto?

Seminars would normally sit within a course, however you can use the ‘Seminar direct enrolment’ enrolment plugin so that learners can sign up to a course via the Calendar or Upcoming Events block, without first being enrolled.  You can also create Seminar events at the site level using the Main Menu block.

Will the webinar link be accessible to learners before they've signed up?

No, the Join Now button only becomes available to signed-up learners 15 minutes prior to the session start time.  A note that admins/trainers etc can see the Join Now button.

How the webinar notifications will work if registration is required? via totara or via the webinar platform?

The integration between Totara and your webinar system of choice is currently only via the predefined link - if you require users to register for the webinar via this software, you should include a link in the Details field or a custom field and include that within your Totara based notifications.  I’d also suggest including a reminder to learners to download the relevant software/apps/applets prior to the session and ensure they are using a compatible browser.  I can’t be the only one that’s been late to a call because I had to install/update my webinar software?!

Is event grade numerical only?

The manual grading feature within Seminar does only support numerical values, however you could always look at using a Scale for grading. This allows you to create your own scale/multi-level text-based ratings.  Please see the Outcomes documentation for more information.

Can the event grade also be used for the total score of a course?

Sure.  If it’s the only graded item within the course, it will be by default, however you can also apply different weightings to the different graded items across a course.  Grading, gradebooks, weightings...I’m aware I’m churning out a bunch of jargon here, so I recommend taking a look at the Academy course on Grading, Completion and Certificates, which breaks things down really nicely.

Are you going to demo the learner experience?

I suspect you might have missed the start of the session where I logged in as our favourite user ‘Lisa Learner’ to show the user experience for the Seminar improvements.  The bulk of the updates to Totara Learn 13 sit within the administration area (like Reporting, Open Badges endorsements Multitenancy, Audience rules etc) so the remainder of the session focused on the admin view.  Across the next few months we’ll be offering Totara Community webinar sessions where will have the time to drill into each feature so we’ll offer up the user view (where applicable like MT) there.

Can you search for seminar events/sessions directly in the catalog?

No, not at this stage.  The catalogue includes Courses, Programs, Certifications (and when using Totara Engage) Resources and Playlists.

Is the Bootstrap base 3 or 4?

We have fully adopted SCSS for our new component styling, more ES6 Javascript language features and an expressive and flexible templating language. All three of these front-end technologies have been collated, per component, into Vue.js Single File Components for better style isolation, re-use and developer convenience. The component files will also retain Totara's theme inheritance hierarchy, so you can choose to override JS, HTML or SCSS, or a combination of them, to push the boundaries of your UI designs. We will no longer rely on the Bootstrap dependency, and we will be keeping all SCSS styling out of Core, keeping them in a new theme instead. [Credit to Dave Wallace for this response]

Is Totara GDPR compliance although names and access information are available to be seen by all users?

Totara is fully GDPR compliant and names and access information is not seen by all users - I was just logged in as the site admin for the bulk of this session, so I could see/do/hear all.  You can control what users see and share - particularly now with the profile page updates - but we also offer the LMS related GDPR requirements such as data export/deletions and site policies.  We have a tidy little summary of our GPPR compliance in our policy docs.

Not sure if this question is related, since program and courses are repetitive annualy, is there a way to tag learner's, program or audience data management to be tagged with Academic Year (i.e. AY 2020-2021)?

Hmmm….have you tried going to Admin>Reports>General settings>Financial Year and adjusting that to AY?

Do you have a timeline for when a v13 demo site will be available?

Now we have Totara Learn, Totara Engage and Totara Perform in our suite, it can be tad overwhelming for someone to hit a demo site without context/guidance/instruction, so we’re taking a slightly different approach this time.  If you’d like a demo, you can go to our website and fill out a simple request form.  From there we can work with you to get a demo site or guided demo sorted for you, as appropriate.

Meredith Henson
Re: Introducing to Totara Learn 13 webinar - recording link and Q&A
by Meredith Henson - Friday, 16 October 2020, 6:34 AM
Group Totara
A small addendum to one question/answer addressed during this session.

Can you change the colours of the graphical reports via Advanced options>Custom settings?

Basic customisation via configuration of the new graphical reports is possible using the new Chart.js reporting library, however advanced customisations options (such as changes to the default colours) is not yet possible. 

If you see this as an important feature enhancement, please do offers us specific examples of use cases for this functionality so that when we consider this as as future improvement, we can ensure we understand how users would like this feature delivered.