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Normally when activating an appraisal, checks are made to ensure the appraisal can be activated and activation is prevented if the appraisal is missing any assignment groups, answerable questions, or if a valid end date is not provided for appraisal stages.

Usually once an appraisal is active no further changes to assignments can be made, however with dynamic appraisals enabled, appraisals can be activated with with no users in an assignment group and assignment changes can be made whilst an appraisal is active.

Enable dynamic appraisals

To enable dynamic appraisals, go to Site administration > Advanced features and enable (check) Dynamic Appraisals.

Dynamic appraisals are enabled by default for new site installations and disabled by default on upgraded sites. If dynamic appraisals are enabled on upgraded sites, assignment or role related changes will also apply to existing appraisals that are active.

Active appraisal assignments

Group assignment changes

Individual users who become part of an existing assigned group, are assigned to, or removed from an appraisal as appropriate. Warnings are displayed on the Assignments tab and user appraisals, if users are missing any required roles.

When a user is added to a group that is assigned to an appraisal, a new appraisal is automatically created for the user. The system will also check if the user has any existing data for the appraisal. If there is, it will reopen the closed appraisal for the user. If not, the user will be assigned the appraisal. Any reminder messages for overdue stages are prevented from being sent to the user.

When a user is no longer part of a group assigned to an appraisal, their appraisal will be closed and the status will display as "Closed". Reminders are also prevented from being sent to the user.

Role assignment changes

A user's role (manager, manager's manager, or appraiser) can be changed or deleted mid-appraisal.

If a user’s manager, manager’s manager, or appraiser changes after an appraisal has been activated, their appraisal will be reassigned to the new user(s) and any answers completed by the old assignee(s) will belong to the new assignee(s).

An appraisal will still work, however the user may not be able to progress until the missing role(s) are updated.


Changes to group and role assignments are made when the Update learner assignments to appraisals (\totara_appraisal\task\update_learner_assignments_task) scheduled task is run, which - by default - is hourly. Group assignment changes may also be updated manually before the scheduled task has run by selecting the Update now button on the Assignments tab.

Dynamic appraisal assignments

Closed appraisals

Closing an appraisal will prevent any further assignment changes being made. A closed appraisal is no longer editable. Therefore a dynamic appraisal is  not closed automatically when all users have completed it, because new users could be added, or removed at any time if the assigned group membership changes. It is up to the site administrator(s) to close an appraisal when it is no longer required (although there is no problem with leaving it open). 

On this page

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

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