European Totara LMS conference review

The first European Totara LMS conference took place in London in September 2011. Steve Rayson reports on a day which saw case studies from Tesco and MediaPharm and the unveiling of an exciting new product roadmap for Totara, a custom distribution of Moodle designed for the corporate enterprise market.

The conference took place on a very sunny September day at BMA House. It was great to see so many Totara clients, partners and prospective clients attending the event.

Richard Wyles, Totara’s CEO, kicked things off with an overview of Totara LMS. Richard explained that Totara was already becoming the open source LMS of choice for enterprises with over 50 companies selecting Totara since its launch earlier in 2011 and many more in the process. Totara isn’t just a great LMS product, its open source business model and Partner network means that it benefits from a community that is collaborating and contributing developments. There is also no per user licensing making Totara very cost-effective for organisations.

Richard Wyles Introduces the European Totara Conference

Richard outlined the growing partner network which stretches across the world covering the Pacific, China, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and America.

Sven Laux was next up highlighting the Totara product road map and introducing the new programme management feature which was released in Totara version 1.1 in October. Sven explained how future Totara releases stay in step with Moodle releases, leveraging and contributing to the broader open source community model going forward. Moodle schedules version releases in December and June, with Totara providing version updates with enterprise specific innovations built on top of the latest Moodle version in March and September each year. Thus Moodle 2.2 will be released in December 2011 and Totara version 2.2 will be released in March 2012.

The conference then heard from organisations already using Totara and their experiences. There was a lot of interest in the Tesco case study as Jane Williams set out their reasons for choosing Totara LMS and how they intend to roll out Totara across the whole organisation. Currently they have about 30,000 registered users and have been seeking feedback and tailoring the system accordingly. The feedback has been very positive so far and includes quotes such as:

This is a great tool…really supporting me as a manager.”

Senior Buyer - Food

At last a system that delivers what it promises.”

Commercial Director

Further case studies included MediaPharm, Cargo-Partner and an interesting case study from the Wyre Academy TDM, using Totara to deliver Government-Funded ICT Apprenticeships using Totara LMS. The case study showed the power of integrating Totara with Mahara to deliver e-portfolios and social learning. TDM also demonstrated the new evidence feature they developed for learning plans which is being incorporated in the Totara core code. A great example of how partners and clients are continually adding value to Totara.

It was exciting to see the potential of Totara and at least two Partners walked away with new Totara contracts from new clients. Since the conference a further 10 organisations have selected Totara and the global client base now includes:

  • Tesco - the UK's largest private sector employer
  • NZ Inland Revenue – New Zealand’s tax department
  • PAZ - the largest energy company in Israel
  • Queensland Health – state health provider in Australia
  • Michelin, China - the World's largest tyre manufacturer
  • Logica - one of the largest business and technology service providers
  • Victim Support - Serving over 70 locations in New Zealand
  • Guys' St Thomas' NHS Hospital - a leading UK hospital
  • Toll Transport Australia’s largest logistics and transportation solution provider
  • BMI Healthcare - UK's number one private hospital group

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