Pros and Cons of Totara

  • MyLearningHub

    Published on February 9, 2018

Totara LMS


Totara is an open source learning management system based on Moodle with some 8.5 million users worldwide. It is available by subscription paid annually based on the number of users and requires hosting as a separate service. Totara has many powerful features, such as cloud technology and mobile learning features, learning paths, compliance management and social learning.

Totara is built in PHP and JavaScript and is compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL databases as well as being SCORM compliant. This makes it complex to learn and use so you will be reliant on your IT department’s expertise to make the LMS work, customise it to your requirements and maintain it.

Points to look out for are the complexity of site structure and permission management, which can limit usability. Also, assess the quality of documentation and decide whether it is clear enough, especially where you need to programme or work with complex features.

Another option is to buy a customised version of Totara from a reseller so you have a readymade working version that you can start using fast. This will increase your costs, as you will have to pay for the customised product, project management and support services they provide. However, this is not the same as a proprietary product as resellers cannot customise the base product but must wait for Totara to update it.

Unlike a proprietary system where the vendor has full control of the source code and can update the product and provide specific customisation you request, Totara resellers do not have full control over the product or the development roadmap and have to follow Totara’s upgrades.

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Pros and Cons of Totara - My Learning Hub