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The catalogue may be accessed via Learn > Find learning in the top navigation menu. If you are using Totara Learn then the catalogue allows users to browse, search and filter for courses, programs and certifications available within the system. If you are using Totara Engage then the catalogue can also be configured to include resources and playlists

Each item in the catalogue is represented by a tile. By default each tile contains the full name of the item and an image. 

Course, program, certification (all Totara Learn) and resource (Totara Engage) images can be uploaded within their respective general settings page.

If an image has not been set for a particular item, the default course, program, certification, resource or playlist image will be used.

To view more information on an item, click on the image or title.

Note that the information panel is disabled by default on new Totara sites. See the Details content setting for more information.

Course Catalogue.

Only those items visible to an individual will be displayed within the catalogue. For more information on limiting the visibility of learning items to certain individuals please see Audiences and Roles.

Using the catalogue

The Grid Catalogue is enabled by default within all new installations of Totara 12 onward. To use the Category or Report (previously known as the Enhanced Catalogue) display for your catalogue, go to Configure features within the quick-access menu and select the desired option from the Catalogue default view setting. 

Browse menu

Users can browse the catalogue by scrolling down the page and using Load More to display additional learning items.

By default, users can also browse items belonging to a specific Category or sub-category. Other browsing options are available within the catalogue, and can be set by a Site Administrator via Quick-access menu > Courses and categories > Configure catalogue or via the Configure catalogue button.

When multitenancy and tenant isolation are enabled users will only be able to see catalogue content from their own tenant.

Category browsing within catalogue.

Sort by

The catalogue can also be sorted and displayed in variety of ways:

  • In Alphabetical order
  • By the most recently added items (Latest)
  • With Featured Learning items listed first (where Featured Learning has been enabled)
  • By Relevance (available after a text search term has been entered)

Display options

By default, the catalogue can be shown in Tile view or List view. Display options can be defined by a Site Administrator via the quick-access menu under Courses > Configure catalogue > General.

Users can also search for items using the Search bar. Only those items available to the user will be displayed. 

The search functionality will return matching results from any course, program, certification (Totara Learn) and resource (Totara Engage) text field that is visible to all users such as item name, summary and text-based custom fields.

Users can also use the partial search functionality if they want to search for multiple similar search terms. To do this, replace part of the search term with an asterisk. For example, if a user were to search for 'organis*', the search results would include terms such as 'organisation', 'organised', 'organisational' and more. Alternatively, searching for '*ball' would return results for 'football', 'basketball', 'eyeball' and more.

Users can share their current view of the catalogue using the Share button. A unique link is generated and may be sent to other users of the site.

People who you share this URL with may not see the same catalogue items as you due to differences in visibility and permissions.

Browsing the course catalogue.

Top and bottom block areas

When using the Grid-based catalogue you can add blocks to the top and bottom block areas. These appear above and below the catalogue respectively. If you are using the Grid-based catalogue as your site's home page you can use these areas to display important information or useful links.

Please see Blocks for more information on the blocks you can add to the catalogue.

Explore content marketplace (Totara Learn)

When viewing the catalogue as a Site Administrator or Course Creator, and where a Content Marketplace has been enabled, a link to Explore Content Marketplace is provided. 

Please see Content Marketplace for instructions on using the Content Marketplace to add new learning items to the catalogue.

Creating items

When viewing the catalogue as a Site Administrator or a user with the capability to create new catalogue items, a Create option is available to add new courses, programs, certifications, resources and playlists (depending on the user's capabilities and the products installed) to the site.

Admin and Course Creator options within the catalogue.

Please see creating courses, managing programs and managing certifications for more information on creating catalogue items using Totara Learn. See resources and playlists for more information on creating catalogue items using Totara Engage.

Configuring the catalogue

How users can interact with the catalogue, the way it displays and what information it contains can be customised by a Site Administrator.

When viewing the catalogue as a Site Administrator a Configure catalogue button is available. This page is also available via Quick-access menu > Courses > Configure catalogue.

Configuring the course catalogue.

Contents

Specify which learning types (Courses, Programs, Certifications, Playlists and Resources) should be included within the catalogue by ticking the corresponding checkbox.

Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

If you enable a new content type, it may take a short while before all associated items will be visible within the catalogue.

General

The general settings area includes options for the overall display of the course catalogue.

SettingDescriptionNotes
View options

Use this setting to specify how you wish users to be able view the catalogue. Select from:

  • Tile and list (default)
  • Tile only
  • List only

Items per 'load more'

This option determines how many learning items should be displayed before the Load more option should appear at the bottom of the catalogue:

  • 20 (default)
  • 40
  • 60
-
Browse menu

This setting defines which field is displayed at the top left of the catalogue when browsing catalogue items. Options include:

  • Category (default)
  • None - Remove the browse option
  • Custom
    • Activity type - Show only items containing a specific activity type (e.g. SCORM, Seminar)
    • Course type - Elearning, Blended or Online
    • Format - Course format (e.g. weekly, topic based)
    • Learning type - Courses, programs or certifications
    • Tags (Default collection)
    • Time to read
    • Topics

Add Filters to restrict catalogue content by multiple criteria.

Featured Learning

Enable this option to highlight specific items within the catalogue.

Catalogue items can added as Featured Learning by a range of criteria. This criteria, or Source, is then further refined by a specific Value.

Sources include:

  • Category
  • Course Type - Elearning, Blended or Online (Totara Learn)
  • Format - Course format (Totara Learn)
  • Tags
  • Topics (Totara Engage)

Items matching the Featured Learning criteria will be shown with a 'Featured' label. The colour of the 'Featured' label can be adjusted via your theme CSS.

Featured is the default Sort by order when Featured Learning is enabled.

Details content

When this setting is enabled then a pop-up containing an item's details will be displayed when you click on the item in the catalogue. From this pop-up you can view the item itself, or close the pop-up.

When this setting is disabled clicking an item in the catalogue will take you straight to the item.

For upgraded sites this setting will be enabled by default, but new sites will have this setting disabled.

Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

Featured items withing the course catalogue.

Templates

The Templates area defines the layout and content shown within the tiles displaying the learning items, and the layout and content shown when viewing the details of an item (if Details content has been enabled on the General tab).

The template design of the catalogue allows for a consistent display across all items.

SettingDescriptionNotes
Item content placeholders
TitleThe name of the item.Choose whether to display the Full name or Short name for each enabled learning type within the Item settings.
ImageEnable this field to show the associated image within the catalogue.Site-wide default images will be displayed unless a custom image has been added within the settings area of a specific item. 

There is no default image size as images will be automatically resized if required. See Course image best practice for more guidance (on the Creating courses help page).
Hero data type

This specifies the information that you want to draw learners' attention to through visual emphasis. Choose from:

  • None - Do not display any hero data
  • Text - Will allow you to add text-based content such as Tags to each catalogue item
  • Icon - will allow you to add image-based content such as Course Icon or Course type icon to each catalogue item

The selection made under Hero data type will determine the options available within the Item settings.


Description

The selected Description field will display in the centre of the item tile.

If enabled, you will need to assign an appropriate information source for the Description for each learning item type within the Item settings.

Additional text placeholdersAdditional text-based information can be displayed within each item tile. Select from zero to five items.

The number of text placeholder items added here will determine the options available within the Item settings.

Icon placeholdersEnable this option to display icon-based information for each learning type.

If Icon placeholders are enabled, the option to select Icon sources for each learning type will be available within the Item settings.

Progress barChoose whether completion progress bars should display for those learning items shown within the catalogue.Only users enrolled in a learning item will see a corresponding progress bar.
Detail content placeholder
TitleIf checked, the title of the learning item will be displayed within the detail windowChoose whether to display the Full name or Short name for each enabled learning type within the Details settings.
Rich text formatEnable this option to add rich text formatted content to the detail window for each learning item.Select where this content should be sourced from within the Detail settings area.
DescriptionThe selected Description field will display under any Rich text content shown within the detail window of each learning item.

If enabled, you will need to assign an appropriate information source for the Description for each learning item type within the Details settings.

Additional text placeholdersAdditional text based information can be displayed within the details area. Select from 0 to 5 items.

The number of text placeholder items added here will determine the options available within the Details settings.

Icon placeholdersEnable this option to display icon based information within the details area for each learning type.If Icon placeholders are enabled, the option to select Icon sources for each learning type will be available within the Details settings.

Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

Items

The Item configuration area specifies the source of the information being displayed for each learning item in both Tile and List views, as set within the Templates tab.

SettingsDescriptionNotes
Title

Choose whether to display the Full name or Short name for each enabled learning type.

For Resources and Playlists there is only a single option (Name) by default. Additional Item title sources can be added by a developer.

Hero data

Hero data is displayed in the top-left-hand corner of a learning item tile.

Where displayed, select the Text- or Icon-based source of the hero data for each enabled learning type.

The options displayed are specified within the Templates settings.
Description If enabled within Templates settings, you will be to select the source for the Description for each learning type.

A description will display under Item Title. Note that there are no options for Totara Engage Resources.

Additional text field(s)

Text-based information regarding each enabled learning type can be added to item tiles using these fields.

The number of fields displayed here is determined by the number of text placeholder selected within the Templates tab.

After selecting the required text information sources, check the Include label option to add the title of the text field alongside the information.

Text fields and icon field display.

Icon sources

If enabled within Templates settings, you will be able to choose which icons to display within learning item tiles.

  • Course icon
  • Program icon
  • Certification icon

Use the up and down arrows (,) to change the order in which these icons display or the delete icon () to remove the icon from the display.

As Icon sources (such as Activity type) can have more than one icon (or no icons), a learning item tile will only display as many icons as the space allows.

Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

Create custom course fields to add other information to catalogue items.

Hero data example - icons.

Details

The Details configuration area specifies the source of the information being displayed within the details of each learning item. Learning item details are viewed when a user select a particular catalogue item.

The options displayed within the Details area are set within the Templates tab.

Note that the details panel is not available for Totara Engage items such as Engage resources or Playlists.

SettingDescriptionNotes
TitleIf enabled within Templates settings, choose whether to display the Full name or Short name for each enabled learning type.Additional Item title sources can be added by a developer.
Rich text content

If enabled within Templates settings, you will be to select the source for any rich text formatted information stored within the settings of a learning type.

This content will be displayed as formatted within the details section of a learning item.

Rich text content includes course, program and certification summary fields and any Text Area Custom Fields.
DescriptionIf enabled within Templates settings, you will be able to select the source for the Description for each learning type.Description sources include any information stored within the general settings of a course, program or certification.
Additional text field(s)

Text-based information regarding each enabled learning type can be added to item details using these fields.

The number of fields displayed here is determined by the number of text placeholder selected within the Templates tab.

After selecting the required text information sources, check the Include label option to add the title of the text field alongside the information.
Icon sources

If enabled within Templates settings, you will be to which icons to display within learning item tiles.

  • Course type
  • Activity type
  • Course icon
  • Program icon
  • Certification icon

Use the up and down arrows (,) to change the order in which these icons display or the delete icon () to remove the icon from the display.

Configuring the catalogue details display.

Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

Expanded details view.

Rich Text is a format which supports limited text formatting and layout design.
To add or edit icons, images and content use the Course Edit settings area and the Program and Certification Details tab.

Filters

Filters allow a user to restrict which the learning items are displayed within the catalogue.

Filters can include:

  • Activity type
  • Category
  • Course type (Totara Learn)
  • Format (Totara Learn)
  • Learning type
  • Tags
  • Topics (Totara Engage)
  • Time to read (Totara Engage)

Use the Filter Heading field to create a custom title for your Filter.

Use the up and down arrows (,) to change the order in which the Filters display down the left-hand side of the screen. Use the delete icon () to remove the Filter from the catalogue.

­­­Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

Course and program/certification custom fields that are of the same type and have an identical full name and short name, will be merged as a single filter within the catalogue, allowing all learning types with a matching value to be displayed.


Populated filters in course catalogue.

Enabling Totara Engage content

By default the catalogue will not display resources or playlists. You can configure the catalogue to show content from Totara Engage by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to Quick-access menu > Courses and categories > Configure catalogue.
  2. Tick the checkboxes for Resources and Playlists.
  3. Click Save.

With these checkboxes users will be able to search and browse the catalogue for Engage resources and use the filters associated with these resource types.

When users search for Engage content the search will prioritise titles and descriptions, followed by topics, followed by hashtags.

The catalogue showing a combination of Totara Engage and Totara Learn items.

Configuring catalogue settings for Engage

Any resources and playlists will display in the catalogue in cards/tiles.

In the General tab you can configure how these cards are displayed, how many cards are displayed, and configure how users can browse the catalogue.

You can find out more about configuring these settings in the Configuring the course catalogue section.

Featured learning

You can choose to mark some of your resources and playlists as Featured learning so they are highlighted and displayed at the top of the catalogue. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Quick-access menu > Courses and categories > Configure catalogue.
  2. On the General tab tick the Enable checkbox for Featured learning.
  3. Select Topics from the first dropdown list.
  4. Select a topic from the second dropdown list.
  5. Click Save.

Template

When configuring the catalogue you an also set up templates for how Engage resource tiles/cards and details are shown to ensure that items are displayed consistently across the catalogue. 

Filters

With Totara Engage there are several additional filters that can help users to find playlists and resources in the catalogue.

  • Topics: This filter allows the user to look for resources and playlists with a specific topic assigned
  • Learning type: This filter can be used to show only resources or playlists
  • Duration: This filter allows the user to limit the results to resources with a duration of 0-5 minutes5-10 minutes, or Over 10 minutes

How is the catalogue populated?

Totara Learn

Catalogue entries for courses, programs and certifications are kept up to date automatically by Totara Learn. When a user changes data relating to learning items, catalogue data is either updated immediately, or else marked as needing to be updated as soon as possible by scheduling a new ad hoc task. Ad hoc tasks are created by Totara Learn as needed and run as soon as possible on the next cron run. Whether the update is immediate, or scheduled as an ad hoc task, usually depends on whether the change affects just one learning item or multiple. For example, changing the full name of a course will cause the catalogue data to immediately be updated, while changing the default value of a course custom field will cause an ad hoc task to be scheduled which will update the catalogue data of all affected courses.

In addition to this, there is a scheduled task that runs once a day by default, refreshing the data in the catalogue to ensure that it is up-to-date. This scheduled task is a backup process that is designed to catch any changes to data that did not lead to an immediate or ad hoc update. All standard functionality within Totara Learn is designed to make the catalogue up-to-date as soon as possible. It is possible that some customisations or third party plugins may need to be updated before they also do this, and the daily scheduled task ensures that the catalogue will be updated at least once per day in this case.

Totara Engage

Resources and playlists from Totara Engage are also kept up to date automatically.

Upgrading to Totara 13 and new installations

When upgrading to Totara 13 from a previous version of Totara, Catalogue type will be set to Report if the site was using the Enhanced Catalogue, or else Category. For new sites, Catalogue type is set to Grid.

When the catalogue refresh is run you may encounter an error message stating that the collation is not valid for the character set your MySQL database uses. This can result in courses not displaying in your course catalogue. If you encounter this error, follow these steps:

  1. Check your config.php for any lines which explicitly set the collation being used for the database connection: 

    $CFG->dboptions['dbcollation'] = 'utf8';
  2. Additionally, run this command line script. It will list the collation being used on all of the tables and fields in the database: 

    php admin/cli/mysql_collation.php -l 

If it turns out that all of the tables and fields are already using 'utf8mb4_unicode_ci', then adding the following line to config.php (or replacing it if found in step 1) should solve the problem:

$CFG->dboptions['dbcollation'] = 'utf8mb4_unicode_ci'; 

Turning on the Grid-based catalogue

When the Catalogue type setting is changed from Report or Category to Grid, an ad hoc task is scheduled which will populate the catalogue data when cron is next run. Until the task has run, the catalogue will be empty.

When the grid-based course catalogue is enabled you can also set it to be the home page for your site. You can change the home page to the grid-based course catalogue by accessing the quick-access menu then going to Navigation > Navigation settings. You can then select an option from the dropdown list for the Default home page for users setting.

Other actions affecting catalogue data

There are several other actions within Totara which can affect catalogue data, which include, but are not limited to:

  • When the grid catalogue is turned off (by changing Catalogue type to Report or Category), all learning items are removed immediately
  • When a feature is turned on (such as programs in Advanced settings), an ad hoc task is scheduled to populate the catalogue with related learning items
  • When a feature is turned off, related learning items are removed immediately
  • When a learning type is enabled in the catalogue (in the Contents tab in catalogue configuration), an ad hoc task is scheduled to populate the catalogue with related learning items
  • When a learning type is disabled in the catalogue, related learning items are removed immediately
  • When tags are turned off or on (in Advanced settings), an ad hoc task is scheduled to refresh the catalogue data of all learning items
  • When tags are turned off or on for a learning type (under Appearance > Manage tags), an ad hoc task is scheduled to refresh the catalogue data of the related learning items

Sorting when multiple languages are enabled

When multiple languages are installed, the sorting dropdown in the catalogue is removed. Instead, sorting is automatically managed, depending on the status of the catalogue. In order of precedence (highest first):

  • If the text search is active then sorting is by relevance
  • If Featured learning is configured then featured items will be sorted first, and the secondary sorting is by latest first (the latest featured item will appear first in the results, and the latest non-featured item will appear just after all the featured items)
  • Otherwise, sorting is by latest first

The dropdown/alphabetical sorting box can be re-enabled by setting the catalog_enable_alpha_sorting_with_multiple_languages config variable - see config-dist.php for details.

Totara Academy

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using the Catalogue in Totara. Here you can learn more on how to use the catalogue, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.




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