Open Hamburger Menu

17 August 2020

Why upgrade your Totara site?

Jonny McAlister

Jonny McAlister

Head of Sales & Marketing

Upgrading your Totara Learn LMS could bring a raft of new features to your organisation. Let’s have a look at some new functionality that could boost your online learning, and your offline learning, when you upgrade Totara.

We’ve been working with Totara as Platinum Totara Partners since 2011, so we’ve seen how the platform has progressed, improved and embraced emerging technologies over that time.

We currently manage more than 200 Totara sites for customers. Some organisations like to upgrade to the latest Totara version at the earliest opportunity, while others favour an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach and stick with their existing version until there is a new feature with the potential to transform how they use the site, or they need to upgrade to maintain security support.

The problem with the latter can be summed up by a Mikhail Gorbachev quote: “If you don’t move forward, sooner or later you begin to move backward.”

While an old version of Totara will continue to perform its intended use indefinitely, at some point it will hinder your administrators and learners in comparison to the technology available to their counterparts at organisations with the latest Totara upgrade.

Let’s look at some of the key benefits of upgrading to a newer version of Totara.


Upgrading to Totara 14

When you upgrade to Totara 14, you’ll get:

  • Improved multi-tenancy features.
  • Zoom and Microsoft Teams integration.
  • Declare interest functionality for seminar direct enrolment.
  • No blank reports — only those automated reports with data will be sent.
  • Smarter notifications triggered by notifiable events.
  • Better assignment and course membership information.
  • An improved Totara Engage recommendation engine.
  • New features and enhanced competencies assignment in Totara Perform.


Upgrading to Totara Learn 13

When you upgrade to Totara 13, you’ll get:

  • A native mobile app, so your learners can more easily learn anywhere, on any device.
  • Enhanced multi-tenancy, so you can easily deliver different learning to different departments, subsidiaries, partners and resellers, or even your customers.
  • Improved seminar management, including session-level attendance tracking, support for multiple rooms and facilitators for each session and improved navigation.
  • New graphical report generator, with more than 70 report sources, a searchable, filterable interface and a simple, tile-based overview of all reports.
  • Better UX, including improved accessibility, more streamlined navigation when viewing learning plans and creating user accounts, and the option to make your course catalogue a default homepage.
  • New dynamic audience rules, so you can automatically enrol users for learning that’s relevant to their current role or ongoing development.
  • Seamless login from existing Google, Microsoft and Facebook apps with the new OAuth2 authentication.
  • The opportunity to combine Totara Learn with Totara Perform and Totara Engage to create a comprehensive talent experience platform.


Upgrading to Totara Learn 12

When you upgrade to Totara 12, you’ll get:

  • Easier browsing, filtering and searching of your course catalogues.
  • Redesigned navigation block for a cleaner screen and clearer user experience.
  • A streamlined front page, with condensed and better displayed course lists, course search and announcements.
  • To easily add new blocks to your pages using the Add icon.
  • New block appearance options, including removed headers or borders, and renaming.
  • More control over HR Import settings and scheduling.
  • To restrict access to activities based on time since completing (or not completing) another activity.
  • To import new courses from GO1 content marketplace.
  • More visually appealing navigation by adding blocks to a full-width header and footer region and a central block region on the front page.
  • Customised images associated with each course, program and certification as part of the improved Featured Link block.
  • Easier access to key parts of your site via a new admin menu.


Upgrading to Totara Learn 11

When you upgrade to Totara 11, you’ll get:

  • Site policy features allowing you to create site-wide policies for users to review and agree or decline to support your GDPR compliance.
  • Data exports for all data linked to individual users.
  • More control over retaining, deleting and purging user data.
  • To stay logged in by using the new Remember My Login box
  • Better control over access to course content based on audience membership, organisation, position or language.
  • Near-immediate appraisal notifications.
  • Warnings about seminar clashes.
  • To send scheduled reports to yourself, with the option for site admin to enable or disable this feature.
  • To add tags to any program or certification.
  • The option to find and filter unconfirmed users, who have self-registered but not confirmed their registration in Totara Learn.
  • A fix to an issue relating to the Time Assigned column in the Record of Learning, which previously displayed the Time Started data.
  • To set a minimum schedule limit to prevent over-reporting slowing the system.
  • To set self-registration password expiry.


Upgrading to Totara Learn 10

When you upgrade to Totara 10, you’ll get:

  • 360° degree feedback tool, incorporating self-appraisal and input from colleagues and managers.
  • The option for users to self-mark module completion.
  • Improved Current Learning block, showing users which courses they are enrolled in and allowing them to click to the course without using a drop-down tool.
  • A new Date Proficiency Achieved column in the competency status report.
  • A recycle bin to capture accidentally deleted course items.
  • Customisable Featured Links blocks featuring custom image-based tiles navigating to internal pages and external sites.
  • Improved discussion forums.
  • Course completion editor, giving you the option to control and edit users’ course completions.
  • User tours, allowing you to give tutorials or onboarding instructions to users visiting certain pages.


Upgrading to Totara Learn 9

When you upgrade to Totara 9, you’ll get:

  • Improved seminar management, including configurable and searchable admin dashboard, improved navigation, Google Maps field and equipment selection.
  • Better look and feel, including more flexible theming and branding, a default theme, improved site hierarchy and font-based icons.
  • PHP7 support and the associated improvements in performance.
  • Automatic learning plans for new users when you add them to a specific group.
  • More variety in quiz questions.
  • Support for multiple job roles.
  • The Last Course Accessed block, so users can immediately resume learning where they left off.
  • Improvements to site accessibility
  • The My Current Learning block, so users can quickly find relevant learning.
  • The option for multiple users to share a single email address.


That’s all the Totara upgrades that are currently supported.

If you’re still running an older version of Totara, which we’ll detail below, we’d strongly recommend upgrading to access the features we’ve mentioned above and the benefits of a supported Totara version.

Here are the older versions of Totara from which you may wish to upgrade:


Upgrading Totara Learn 2.9

Totara Learn 2.9 is no longer supported. When it was first launched, upgrading to Totara 2.9 gave you:

  • Single sign-on using the Totara Connect feature.
  • Better control over report viewing by restricting which user groups can see specific reports.
  • Better report builder plugins and improved exports.
  • Report cloning functionality for a quicker way to create different versions of similar reports.
  • New Program Completion block, so users can monitor their progress more easily.
  • Better understanding of time zones, with the fixed date custom field automatically taking account of each user’s current time zone.
  • Improvements to site accessibility.
  • Better site performance.


Upgrading Totara Learn 2.7

Totara Learn 2.7 is no longer supported. When it was first launched, upgrading to Totara 2.7 gave you:

  • Improved reporting, including aggregation of report data and a range of graphical reports.
  • Customisable menus.
  • Automatic updates to appraisals when a user changes job or moves departments.
  • Improvement to face-to-face features, including waiting lists (and waiting list lotteries), custom fields and the option to set a minimum capacity.


Upgrading Totara Learn 2.6

Totara Learn 2.6 is no longer supported. When it was first launched, upgrading to Totara 2.6 gave you:

  • Improved course catalogues, making it easier to find certifications, programs and courses.
  • Enhanced face-to-face module, including more details of which learners are not booked onto sessions, easier bulk attendance and a more detailed self-enrol process.
  • A fully-supported responsive theme.
  • Simpler hiding of unused features.


Upgrading Totara Learn 2.5

Totara Learn 2.5 is no longer supported. When it was first launched, upgrading to Totara 2.5 gave you:

  • Better performance management with goal setting, appraisal forms, 360° feedback forms and detailed reporting.
  • Certifications, which are programs that expire and have to be retaken.
  • A responsive theme, so Totara scales to any device size.
  • To make courses and programs visible to specific audiences only.
  • Improvements to course catalogues.
  • An import tool to upload historic data on course completion.
  • Temporary managers, so you can assign the appropriate responsibilities when people are stepping into a role.
  • PDF exports from the report builder.


Ready to upgrade your Totara site?

If you’re interested in moving your LMS to a newer version of Totara, feel free to use the form below and we’ll be in touch for a chat.



Request a Callback. It’s easy!

Whether it’s about upgrading your current platform, starting from scratch with an LMS of your choice or you need guidance on where to begin, we’ll be happy to help!


Learning tips straight to your inbox

Keep up to date with the latest learning technologies, e-learning insight and advice on getting the best results from your learners and your platforms. Sign up to get regular email updates.