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Oct 2016

Spoiler alert: why you should be excited about Totara 9

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Shaping the future of learning

The Totara 9 features creating the biggest buzz  

Whether you’re a current user of Totara LMS or are contemplating a move away from your proprietary LMS here are the top features that will convince you that Totara 9 is the way to go.

Reason 1: Seminar Management (aka the new improved Face to Face module) 

In previous versions of Totara LMS, the Face to Face activity has seen many improvements. Totara 9 not only improves the Face to Face activity further, but also rebrands it to the Seminar activity, bringing it into line with more commonly used business terminology.  

There is a plethora of good things to look forward to here: 

  • Assets  
    This allows physical resources (i.e. laptops, whiteboards, projectors, wifi access, conference lines etc.) to be input and tracked across the system for Face to Face (sorry, old habits die hard) Seminars. Similar to the current Rooms functionality, a resource can be prevented from being booked at the same time. 
  • Custom fields  
    This feature has been extended so you can create your own forms for Rooms and Assets. There’s also a very nice location field which can include a Google Map, a useful functionality that can help participants find the locations of their booked sessions more effectively. 
  • Two stage approval  
    In many organisations booking has to be approved by a manager first and then another, e.g. a budget holder or HR manager. Seminars in Totara 9 can be set up so that a manager and another user has to approve a booking before it's made.

    Screenshot of sign up for webinar in Totara 9

  • Sign in sheets 
    This is a small but beautiful change which allows an attendance sheet to be downloaded and printed in PDF format from the attendee screen.  It includes each attendees name and a space for their signature, and is a real time saver for anyone managing or running a classroom event.  
  • Restrict booking on date 
    It is now possible to close booking for a period of time before the event occurs. This can be really useful if you need your attendees to complete learning before they attend the session or if you want to decide whether it’s worth running the session based on the sign-up numbers – something you often need to consider before rooms and resources are officially booked.
  • Overview report  
    Last but not least, there’s the overview report. A tool which provides a really nice summary view of all seminars and their status. This is really useful, especially if you have a lot of sessions, as it is built using Report Builder and additional fields can be added as required.

    Screenshot of overview report in Totara 9

Reason 2: Job assignments 

A big limitation of Totara LMS has always been that a user could only have one manager, one organisation and one position. In some organisations (such as Healthcare) it’s quite common to have employees who have a primary role, a secondary one and maybe even a tertiary one— all with different managers.   

Thus the introduction of job assignments in Totara 9 is a major game changer because it’s now possible to create one or more job assignments for a user. Each job assignment has a manager, an organisation and a position. Learning can now be assigned based on a user’s one or many job assignments. This is a very important change and one which will make many organisations very happy reflecting the complex reality of some organisations’ structures. 

Screenshot of example user details in Totara 9

What else does Totara 9 have to offer? 

Just two reasons I hear you cry? Yep, that’s it for this post, but there is honestly so much more packed into Totara 9, such as:  

  • the ability to customise the form the user completes so that evidence to the record of learning can be added. A useful functionality when you need to capture specific information above the standard fields. 
  • two nice new blocks (Current Learning and Last Course Accessed) for use on the dashboard pages that allow learners to track their learning more effectively.  
  • an improved out of the box theme and dashboards. This is, by all accounts a lot cleaner.  


Shaping the future of learning

Kineo helps the world’s leading businesses improve performance through learning and technology. We’re proud of our reputation for being flexible and innovative, and of our award-winning work with clients across the world.

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