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Workspaces are a feature of Totara Engage that provide an area for users to collaborate, discuss, and find curated resources. How you use workspaces is ultimately up to you and your users. You can create workspaces for the different departments and teams in your organisation, or create them based on skills, interests, and more.

Workspaces can be enabled or disabled in Configure features.

Workspace types

In Totara Engage there are three types of workspace:

  • Public: Users can easily find and join public workspaces without requiring permission. Users can also see workspace members and content without joining the workspace.
  • Private: Workspace content and members are hidden from non-members. In order to join the workspace users must request access, which will be given once the Workspace Owner approves their request.
  • Hidden: Private workspaces can also be hidden, meaning they will not be shown in search results or when accessed via direct link.

You can choose which type to use, and whether or not the workspace is hidden, when creating a new workspace. You can change whether or not a workspace is hidden when editing an existing workspace, but you cannot change the type from public to private or vice versa.

Creating workspaces

Create a public workspace

Users can create new public workspaces by following these steps:

  1. Go to Collaborate > Your workspaces from the top navigation bar.
  2. Click the add button () next to Your workspaces in the left-hand panel.
  3. Enter a Workspace name and Description.
  4. Select Public for the Workspace type.
  5. Click Edit image to upload a thumbnail image for the workspace. The image should be 426 x 477px.
  6. Click Create.

Creating a new public workspace.

Note that if a user is deleted, any workspaces they have created will not be deleted. If they were the Workspace Owner you may want to transfer ownership of the workspace to another user. Any contributions created by the deleted user (e.g. resources, playlists and surveys) will be deleted, so you may need to recreate any important contributions in the workspace.

By default, all authenticated users will have the capability to create new workspaces. If you decide to disable this capability site-wide, you can choose to assign the Workspace Owner role to specific users to allow them to create workspaces.

After the workspace has been created any Workspace Owners can update the workspace's details and thumbnail image.

Create a private/hidden workspace

Users can create a private workspace by following these steps:

  1. Go to Collaborate > Your workspaces from the top navigation bar.
  2. Click the add button () next to Your workspaces in the left-hand panel.
  3. Enter a Workspace name and Description.
  4. Select Private for the Workspace type.
  5. If you want the workspace to be hidden from other uses, tick the Hide workspace checkbox under Workspace type.
  6. Click Edit image to upload a thumbnail image for the workspace. The image should be 426 x 477px.
  7. Click Create.

You may want to create a hidden workspace initially so you can add content and/or members before making the workspace discoverable.

When you want to unhide a hidden workspace follow these steps:

  1. Click on the icon of three dots () and select Edit workspace.
  2. Under Workspace type tick the Unhide workspace checkbox.
  3. Click Save changes.
  4. The workspace will now be visible, but still private.

Finding workspaces

Typically users will want to join workspaces relevant to their job role, interests, or skills they want to develop. To do this, users need to browse the Find workspaces page. 

Users can filter the list of workspaces based on Membership, or use the search bar to look for specific workspaces.

Search results will display both public and private workspaces, but hidden workspaces will not be shown.

If you have enabled multitenancy on your site then users won't have access to workspaces in other tenants. If you have enabled Tenant isolation then additional restrictions will apply.

Public workspaces

To join a public workspace users can follow these steps:

  1. Go to Collaborate > Find workspaces from the top navigation bar.
  2. Browse the list for a workspace you want to join.
  3. Click Join on the workspace thumbnail. Alternatively, click the thumbnail to view the workspace first, then click Join workspace in the right-hand information panel.
  4. You are now a member of the workspace.

Browsing available workspaces.

Users do not require permission to join a public workspace, meaning they are free to join any spaces that interest them. Workspaces you have already joined will still appear on the Find workspaces page, but the Join button will instead say Joined. After joining a workspace it will appear in the left-hand panel under Your workspaces.

Private workspaces

To join a private workspace users can follow these steps:

  1. Go to Collaborate> Find workspaces from the top navigation bar.
  2. Browse the list for a workspace you want to join.
  3. Click Request to join.
  4. Wait for the Workspace Owner to accept your request.
  5. You are now a member of the workspace.

Users cannot join a hidden private workspace. Workspace Owners must manually add members to a hidden workspace.

As a Workspace Owner or Site Administrator you can see requests to join a workspace in the Members tab. Simply click Approve to give a user access to the workspace, or Reject to deny access.

Using workspaces


One of the main functions of a workspace is facilitating discussion between its members. Users can start a discussion by creating a post, then other users can reply to continue the conversation.

Discussions are all organised in the Discuss tab.


The Library tab shows a list of resources that have been added to the workspace. Here you can click a card to view the resource, or click the add icon () to add a new resource or playlist to the workspace.

You can filter and sort this tab in two ways:

  • Type: Filter the list to show only ResourcesSurveysPlaylists, or All types
  • Sort by: Sort the resources in order of when they were created (Created), how many likes they have received (Popular), when they were shared (Date shared), or in alphabetical order (A-Z)

You can also use the search bar to look for specific resources within the workspace.

The Workspace Owner and Site Administrator can remove resources from the workspace's library by clicking the icon of three dots () and selecting Remove.

Resources, surveys and playlists added to a private workspace's library will not be available and cannot be shared outside of the workspace.


The Members tab shows all of the users who have joined the workspace. You can sort the list of users by first name in alphabetical order (Name) or based on when they joined (Recently joined).

Each user is shown in a card displaying their name, email address and profile picture. You can click a user's name to view their public profile.

The Members tab of a workspace.

While many users will find workspaces that are relevant or interesting to them, you may sometimes need to add users to a specific workspace.

Workspace Owners and Site Administrators can add members to the workspace by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to the workspace you want to add members to.
  2. Click the User menu (this will say Owner if you are the Workspace Owner) and select Add members from the dropdown list.
  3. In the Add members to workspace pop-up use the Browse all tab to find the user(s) you want to add to the workspace.
  4. Tick the checkboxes for all users you want to add, and check the Selected items tab to view only the users you have selected.
  5. Click Add.
  6. The selected users will simply be added to the workspace without the need for their approval. Added members will be automatically notified.

If multitenancy is enabled on your site and you have multiple tenants set up then there are restrictions on which users can be added to different workspaces.

Adding members to a workspace.

The columns displayed in the Add members to workspace tab are determined by the User profile summary card. This means you can configure this interface to ensure that sensitive information is not displayed to Workspace Owners.

Selecting users to add as workspace members.

You can now see that the selected members have been added to the workspace in the Members tab.

Site Administrators and Workspace owners can also remove members from the workspace in the Members tab. To do this select the icon of three dots () in the top-right corner of the user's card, then select Remove.

Bulk adding users

As a Site Administrator you can add users to workspaces in bulk. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the workspace you want to add members to.
  2. Click the User menu (this will say Owner if you are the Workspace Owner) and select Bulk add audience(s) from the dropdown list.
  3. Check the boxes to select the audience(s) you wish to add to the workspace, then click Add.
  4. A pop-up will indicate how many new users will be added to the workspace (note that any users in the audience that are already members of the workspace will not be included in this number). Click Add members, or click Go back if you wish to change your selections. If no new users will be added you will instead be prompted to Reselect audiences.
  5. An alert will indicate that the process has started, and you will receive a second notification once all users in the selected audience(s) have been added to the workspace.

Note that if any users leave the selected audience(s), they will not be removed from the workspace. Workspace membership is not synced with audience membership. Instead, users are added on a one-off basis, based on audience membership. These users can choose to leave the workspace, and their audience membership will be unaffected.

Workspace notifications

There are a number of workspace notifications that can be used to keep a workspace's owner and members up to date with changes and ongoing discussions. To configure notification preferences:

  1. Go to the user profile.
  2. Click Preferences, then Notification preferences.
  3. Turn different types of notification on or off (toggle by clicking).

The following notifications can be configured:

New items added to workspace libraryWorkspace OwnerThe Workspace Owner is notified when new content (e.g. a resource or playlist) is added to the workspace.
Member request acceptedUser joining a workspaceWhen a user requests to join a private workspace they will be notified when the Workspace Owner approves their request.
Comments on discussion postsDiscussion posterThe poster of a discussion will be notified when another user comments on the post.
Request to join private workspaceWorkspace OwnerWhen a user requests to join a private workspace the Workspace Owner will be notified.
User has been added to a workspaceAny userWhen a Workspace Owner adds a user to a workspace the user will be notified.
Workspace ownership has been transferredNew Workspace OwnerWhen the current Workspace Owner or a Site Administrator transfers ownership of a workspace the new Workspace Owner will be notified.

New users added in via bulk audience(s)

New workspace membersEach new workspace member that has been added via an audience will also receive a notification that they have access to the workspace.
New discussion in a workspaceWorkspace Owner and workspace membersThe Workspace Owner and all workspace members are notified when a workspace member adds a new discussion topic to the workspace.

By default users will receive web notifications while logged in and email notifications while offline.

Some workspace members will prefer to browse a workspace at their own pace, and don't want to be notified of changes or additions to the workspace. Members can mute all workspace notifications by clicking the Joined dropdown, then Mute notifications.

Transferring workspace ownership

In some cases you may need to transfer ownership of a workspace, for example when the current Workspace Owner is leaving the company or is no longer able to administer the workspace. As a Workspace Owner cannot leave a workspace, if they want to leave then they will first need to transfer ownership to another user, or delete the workspace completely.

As a Site Administrator or the current Workspace Owner you can transfer a workspace to another user by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to the workspace you want to transfer.
  2. Select the user actions menu in the top-right corner, then select Transfer ownership.
  3. Type the name of the user you want to be the new Workspace Owner in the Select new owner field.
  4. Select a user from the list, then click Confirm.
  5. The new Workspace Owner will be notified of the change.

When you transfer ownership of a workspace to another user the current Workspace Owner will become a member of the workspace instead. They are then able to leave the workspace.

Workspaces can function without a Workspace Owner, but it is recommended that all workspaces on your site have an owner to ensure that they can handle administrative functions. For example, in a private workspace you need a Workspace Owner to approve requests to join.

You can use the workspace activity and engagement report to identify any workspaces without a Workspace Owner.

Deleting workspaces

Site Administrators or Workspace Owners (including the workspace's creator) can permanently delete a workspace, meaning members will no longer be able to view the workspace or any discussions contained within it. Users also won't be able to access any files they uploaded to the workspace.

To delete the workspace simply click the icon of three dots () in the right-hand information panel, then select Delete workspace from the dropdown menu. The system will ask you to confirm that you want to delete the workspace.

Deleting a workspace will result in permanent loss of data, so this decision should not be taken lightly. If you are unsure if you want to delete the workspace permanently, you may prefer to temporarily disable the workspace, as this decision is reversible.

Deleting a workspace.

When you delete a workspace this will not happen immediately, but the workspace will instead be flagged for deletion. When the cron next runs an ad-hoc task will be executed to delete the workspace.

Once a workspace is flagged for deletion it will not be visible to the user, except for in the recipient list of shared resources.

Totara Community

Join the conversation on Workspaces in the Totara Community. 

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Workspaces in Totara EngageHere you can find out more about setting up and using workspaces, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

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