Audience management allows site-wide user groups to be populated manually or dynamically using unlimited combinations of rules built on supplied HR data, user completion records and other collected user metrics.

The audiences functionality allows administrators to quickly or automatically assign members to:

  • Enrolment in any number of courses, programs and/or certifications.
  • Visibility of any number of courses, programs and/or certifications.
  • Access to any number of learning plan templates or pre-populated learning plans.
  • Company goals.
  • System level access rights.

Audiences are especially powerful when used alongside HR Import. With both features enabled and configured, a range of user administration and enrolment actions can be automatically processed based on your regular HR feed and the extensive range of business rules you define.

There are two types of audiences:

  • Set: A set audience allows you to manually select and add any user to the group.
  • Dynamic: A dynamic audience is automatically created and maintained based on a set of rules you create.

(This video is taken from the Audiences course on the Totara Academy, where you can access more resources and learning materials - including other videos).

Audience management page

Set audiences

Due to the simple but manual process required to add and remove audience members, set audiences are typically used where there are a limited number of individuals within the group, with infrequent updates to the members of the audience.  Examples might include a set audience for course creators across a site or members of a specific project team.

Creating a set audience

  1. Within the Site administration menu select Audiences.
  2. Select the Add new audience tab.
  3. Enter the audience Name. This is a mandatory field.
  4. Select the Context. An audience can be set up at a system context or within a particular course category context.
  5. Select Set from the Type dropdown field.
  6. Enter an Audiences ID number and Description if required. The Audiences ID number needs to be a unique identifier.
  7. Set the Start date.

    If a Start date is provided:

    • Access to dashboards granted by this audience will not be available until this date.
    • If this is a dynamic audience, audience members will not be automatically updated until this date.
  8. Set the End date.

    If an End date is provided:

    • Access to dashboards granted by this audience will not be available after this date.
    • If this is a dynamic audience, audience members will not be automatically updated after this date.


  9. Set the Alerts. These control the notifications sent to the audience group members.  Choose from:
    • Do not send alerts: Alerts will not be sent to members when they are added or removed from this group.
    • Send alerts to affected members only: Allows you to only send notifications to audience group members affected by changes in the membership of the group.
    • Send alerts to all members: Sends all alerts to all audience group members, bear in mind some audiences can be very large.
  10. Enter in any Tags that should be associated with this Audience.
  11. Select Save changes
  12. You will be automatically taken to the Edit members tab for this new audience.


Managing set audience members

To assign members to the audience group, search or browse the list of Potential users in the right hand column, select the user(s) you require and select Add. The user(s) now appear in the Current users column.

To remove members from the audience group, search or browse the list of Current users in the left hand column, select the user(s) you require and select Remove. The user(s) now appear in the Potential users column.

Select Back to audiences to return to the audience management page.

Editing users from a set audience


Removing users from an audience may result in the unenrolment of users from multiple courses.  This will include the deletion of user settings, grades, group membership and other user information from affected courses.

Editing a set audience

  1. Go to Site administration > Audiences
  2. Select the Edit icon (Edit icon) against the corresponding audience.
  3. Navigate to the audience editing tab holding the details you wish to review or change.
  4. Select Save changes when finished.

Audience editing tabs for a set audience

TabDescriptionNotes
Edit detailsAllows you to change the NameAudiences IDDescriptionStart dateEnd date and Alerts setting for the audience.-
MembersView and search for the current members of the audience.-
Edit members

Allows you to add and remove users from a set audience group.

See Editing set audience members for instructions on adding and removing users from a set audience.

Enrolled learning

Allows you to enrol or unenrol the members of this audience into any number of courses, programs, and certifications.

Select Add courses, Add programs or Add certifications and choose the required learning items from the list to enrol the audience members. Save any changes.

Use the corresponding Delete icon () to remove a learning item from the Enrolled learning list and unenrol audience members.

Learning will be made available immediately to new users once they've registered. Audience membership as well as audience-based enrolled learning (i.e. course enrolment and certification/program assignment) will occur before new users first log into the platform.

For existing users enrolments will be processed in the background when adding courses to the enrolled learning tab in audiences.

Course deletion may take minutes to process, depending on audience size. Once completed, the course association will be removed from this audience.

Visible learning

Use this setting to limit the visibility of specific courses, programs and certifications to audience members.

Select Add courses, Add programs or Add certifications and choose the required learning items from the list and Save any changes.

Choose from the following Visibility settings:

  • No users
  • All users
  • Enrolled users only - only users enrolled in this learning item will be able to see it within the course catalogue.
  • Enrolled users and members of selected audience - users enrolled in this learning and members of the current audience will be able to see it within the course catalogue.

Use the corresponding Delete icon () to remove a learning item from the Visible learning list and remove the audience based visibility settings.

Audience based visibility must be enabled via Advanced features before this tab will appear.

Audience visibility will effect which learning items are displayed to users within the Course catalogue.

Learning PlanAllows you to assign learning plan templates and automatically create learning plans for all audience members.

Please see Learning plans for more information on creating learning plans.

Goals

Allows you to assign company goals to all audience members.

Once you have setup goals on your Totara Learn site, you can then assign these to all members of an audience.

  1. Click the Add Goal button.
  2. If you have only a single goal framework you can simply click the goals you wish to add. If you have multiple frameworks then you can select the desired framework from a dropdown menu and then select goals by clicking on them. You can also click the Search tab to find a particular goal. 
  3. Once you have chosen the goal(s) you wish to add click Save.
See Goals for more information on creating Goal frameworks.
Assign Roles

Allows you to assign roles with permissions (access rights) to the audience members.

Tick the box along the role(s) you wish to assign to members of the audience and select the Assign selected role(s) to this audience button.

Please see Roles for more information on access rights.

Dynamic audiences

Dynamic audiences are typically used where there will be large number of audience members or frequent updates to memberships.  Dynamic audiences can also be useful where there are a large number of users within the site, where searching and adding users manually to a set audience is particularly time consuming.  Examples might include a dynamic audience for all staff managers within your Totara Learn site, all users with a particular department of your organisation or individuals who are certified first-aid practitioners.

Creating a dynamic audience

  1. Select Site administration > Audiences
  2. Select the Add new audience tab.
  3. Enter the audience Name. This is a mandatory field.
  4. Select the Context. An audience can be set up at a system context or in a particular course category context.
  5. Select Dynamic from the Type dropdown field.
  6. Enter an Audiences ID number and Description if required. The Audiences ID number needs to be a unique identifier.
  7. Set the Start date

    If a Start date is provided:

    • Access to dashboards granted by this audience will not be available until this date.
    • If this is a dynamic audience, audience members will not be automatically updated until this date.
  8. Set the End date.

    If an End date is provided:

    • Access to dashboards granted by this audience will not be available after this date.
    • If this is a dynamic audience, audience members will not be automatically updated after this date.


  9. Set the Alerts. These control the notifications sent to the audience group members. There are three options:
    • Do not send alerts: Alerts will not be sent to members when they are added or removed from this group.
    • Send alerts to affected members only: Allows you to only send notifications to audience group members affected by changes in the membership of the group.
    • Send alerts to all members: Sends all alerts to all audience group members, bear in mind some audiences can be very large.
  10. Enter in any Tags that should be associated with this Audience.
  11. Select Save changes.
  12. You will be automatically taken to the Rule sets tab for this new audience


Managing rule sets

Selecting the Rule Set tab allows you to set the rules or criteria which define the membership of the audience group.  Rules are created in groups called Rule Sets.

A rule set can include multiple rules and you can create any number of rule sets for each audience group.

SettingDescriptionNotes

Automatically update membership

These options change the way that membership of the audience is updated based on when a user meets the audience rules. The configuration of these settings define when a user should be added to or removed from audience membership.

You can configure this based on the following checkbox options:

  • Make a user a member when they meet rule sets criteria.
Deselecting both options will freeze membership until either (or both) of the options are changed.

Membership setting between every rule set

This setting determines how the audience rules will behave if you define more than one rule set. It is based on the logical AND and OR operators.

  • If set to AND, then a user will only be added to the audience if they satisfy the conditions of all of the rule sets (they will be omitted if they fail to satisfy even one rule set).
  • If set to OR, then a user will be added to the audience if they satisfy the conditions of any of the rule sets (they only have to satisfy the conditions of a single rule set to be included).
Each rule set has its own separate logical operator to indicate the relationship between the rules within that rule set.


Adding rule sets

  1. Select the Add rule dropdown menu and select the rule you wish to add to the audience group. There are a number of available options including:
    • User profile: You can use the fields from the user profile to add users to the audience e.g. username, ID number, language preference, country and user profile custom fields. 

    • Job assignments: You can use information from a user's job assignment including positions, organisations, managers etc to add users to an audience

    • Learning: You can use the completion of a learning event e.g. course completion and program completion to add users to your audience group.
    • Audience: You can use other audience membership to add users to your audience.
    • System Access: Use the first login date or fast login date to add a user to the audience group.

  2. Set the rule options as required and select Save.

When a rule has been added to the first rule set, the Membership setting between each rule in this rule set option appears. If you have two or more rules in your set, this allows you to set the logic between the rules in this set. Choose from:

  • And: The user needs to match every rule in the set.
  • Or: The user needs to match one of the rules in the set.

You can set as many rules as required to make your audience group. When you have added all the required rules click Approve changes to save your rules.

Text area custom fields are not supported due to performance implications and search complexity e.g. images can be uploaded, HTML input, etc.

Adding rules to a dynamic audience

Editing a dynamic audience

  1. Select Site administration > Audiences
  2. Select the Edit icon (Edit icon) against the corresponding audience.
  3. Select the audience editing tab that holds the details you wish to review or change.
  4. Select Save changes when finished.

Audience editing tabs

TabDescriptionNotes
Edit detailsAllows you to change the NameAudiences IDDescriptionStart dateEnd date and Alerts setting for the audience.-
Rule setsUse rule sets to specify the criteria for membership to the audience.Please see Managing rule sets for instructions on adding rule sets to dynamic audiences.
MembersView and search for the current members of the audience.-
Enrolled learning

Allows you to enrol or unenrol the members of this audience into any number of courses, programs, and certifications.

Select Add courses, Add programs or Add certifications and choose the required learning items from the list to enrol the audience members.  Save any changes.

Use the corresponding Delete icon () to remove a learning item from the Enrolled learning list and unenrol audience members.

Learning will be made available immediately to new users once they've registered. Audience membership as well as audience-based enrolled learning (i.e. course enrolment and certification/program assignment) will occur before new users first log into the platform.

For existing users enrolments will be processed in the background when adding courses to the enrolled learning tab in audiences.

Course deletion may take minutes to process, depending on audience size. Once completed, the course association will be removed from this audience.

Visible learning

Use this setting to limit the visibility of specific courses, programs and certifications to audience members.

Select Add courses, Add programs or Add certifications and choose the required learning items from the list and Save any changes.

Choose from the following Visibility settings:

  • No users
  • All users
  • Enrolled users only - only users enrolled in this learning item will be able to see it within the course catalogue.
  • Enrolled users and members of selected audience - users enrolled in this learning and members of the current audience will be able to see it within the course catalogue.

Use the corresponding Delete icon ( ) to remove a learning item from the Visible learning list and remove the audience based visibility settings.

Audience based visibility must be enabled via Advanced features before this tab will appear.

Audience visibility will effect which learning items are displayed to users within the Course catalogue.

Learning PlanAllows you to assign learning plan templates and automatically create learning plans for all audience members.

If a user is removed from the audience any created learning plans will remain.

Please see Learning plans for more information on creating learning plans.

Goals

Allows you to assign company goals to all audience members.

Once you have setup goals on your Totara Learn site, you can then assign these to all members of an audience.

  1. Click the Add Goal button.
  2. If you have only a single goal framework you can simply click the goals you wish to add. If you have multiple frameworks then you can select the desired framework from a dropdown menu and then select goals by clicking on them. You can also click the Search tab to find a particular goal. 
  3. Once you have chosen the goal(s) you wish to add click Save.
Please see Goals for more information on creating Goal frameworks.
Assign Roles

Allows you to assign roles with permissions (access rights) to the audience members.

Tick the box along the role(s) you wish to assign to members of the audience and select the Assign selected role(s) to this audience button.

Please see Roles for more information on access rights.

Creating learning plans for audiences

The learning plan functionality within audiences provides audience members access to learning plan templates and the ability for administrators to automatically create learning plans for each audience member.

Once a learning plan template has been selected an administrator can specify whether the template should be used to create a draft or pre-approved learning plan. It is also possible to prevent new plans being created if the user already has a learning plan based on the selected template. 

By linking competencies to positions and organisations and creating a learning plan template which is set to automatically assign competencies (and their linked courses), an administrator can leverage the audiences functionality to automate the creation and population of learning plans for all learners.

To assign or create a learning plan for an audience:

  1. Select the Learning plan tab within the selected the audience.
  2. Select the Plan template from the dropdown list.
  3. Choose which types of audience members (if any) should not have a learning plan automatically generated for them via the
    1. Who have an existing manually created plan based on this template - If a user has a plan based on this template that was manually created by them or their manager then they will not get a new plan created.
    2. Have an existing automatically created plan based on this template - If a user has an automatically created plan based on this template then they will not get a new plan created.
    3. Have a completed plan based on this template - If this option is selected then users who have a completed plans based on this template will not have a new template created.
  4. Select Create new plan as Draft or Approved.
  5. Choose to Automatically create a new learning plan for every new user who becomes a member of this audience if new users who are dynamically added to the audience should also have a learning plan created automatically.

  6. Click Save and create plans.

  7. A confirmation of the number of learning plans being created will be displayed and a History of the learning plans created will be displayed.

    If the Exclude users who setting has have an existing, automatically created plan based on this template enabled, the automatic creation of learning plans will not be available.

Learning plan tab within audience editing page

Nested audiences

Nested audiences allow you to base a dynamic audience on one or more other audiences using the Audience member rule. This appears under the Audience heading in the normal Add rule dropdown menu. 
 

Example:

If you had Audience 1 consisting of users A, B and C and Audience 2 consisting of users C, D and E you could create a new audience:

Rule: Member of 'Audience 1', 'Audience 2' (select multiple audiences in the dialogue window).

This would give you an audience with users A, B, C, D and E.


Or you could create two separate rules (within a single rule set):

Rule 1: Member of 'Audience 1'.

AND:

Rule 2: Member of 'Audience 2'.

This would require the user to be in both audiences, so the new audience would only match user C.


If you have an audience that users other rules, and you want to add the members from one (or more audiences) to that group you would do it like this:

Rule 1: User is a Manager.

OR:

Rule 2: Member of Audience 'Audience 1'.

This one would give you every manager in your site, plus the users in audience 1 (whether they are a manager or not).


If you want to exclude an audience even if they meet the other criteria, you need to use 'AND' between rules and the 'NOT' operator in the rule:

Rule 1: User is a Manager.

AND:

Rule 2: NOT a Member of Audience 'Audience 1'.

This would give you every manager, except the managers in Audience 1.

Duplicating an audience

An existing set or dynamic audience can be duplicated in order to create another audience based on similar settings or rule sets.

  1. Select Site administration > Audiences
  2. Select the corresponding Duplicate icon () in the Actions column against the selected audience.
  3. The message Do you really want to create a copy of the audience '\[audience_name\]'? is displayed.
  4. Select Yes to duplicate or No to cancel.

Deleting an audience

  1. Select Site administration > Audiences.
  2. Select the corresponding Delete icon () in the Actions column against the selected audience
  3. The message Do you really want to delete the audience '\[audience_name\]'? is displayed.
  4. Select Yes to duplicate or No to cancel.

Deleting users of an audience via bulk action

  1. Copy the audience ID number (this can be found/created under the Edit details tab of an audience).
  2. Navigate to Site administration > Users > Bulk user actions.
  3. Select Show more under New filter.
  4. Insert the Audience ID into the Audience ID field (with the dropdown set to is equal to).
  5. Select Add filter at the bottom of the list.
  6. Select All filtered in the Available users column and then add to selection.
  7. Set With selected users.. to Delete.
  8. Select Go.
  9. Confirm and select Delete.

Audience global settings

Audience global settings allows you to set the site wide alert and dynamic audience membership options used for audiences.

Alert options

Audiences alert settings allows a user with the appropriate permissions to specify the alert options that are available to users on the Audience edit page. This setting affects all Audience edit pages.  When multiple options are selected the user can choose their preferred options from the alert dropdown menu.

Choose from:

  • Do not send alerts.
  • Send alerts to affected members only.
  • Send alerts to all members.

Apply dynamic audience membership changes in background

Dynamic audience membership needs to be updated after audience rule changes are approved, which can take some time to complete. When checked, updates will be scheduled to occur as a background task. If unchecked, updates will occur immediately which will require the user who is approving the changes to wait for the update to complete.

On this page


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

Still have questions? Why not post them in the forums of the Totara Community.