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The experimental settings area can be located from the Administration menu within Development > Experimental > Experimental settings. It lists features that require additional testing and bug-fixing. Experimental settings will be disabled by default. 

We recommend you use a test server for testing experimental features before enabling them on your production site.

All experimental settings are disabled by default and must be enabled by a Site Administrator. It is important to note that these features are new and may not have been fully tested. Including experimental features means those who want to can try them out and offer feedback to ensure they are improved before they are included in the main site settings as supported features. 

If you do not wish to see the experimental features section at all then you would need to hardcode this out in the cofig.php file.

This adds the choice Require Safe Exam Browser to the Browser security field on the quiz settings form. See http://www.safeexambrowser.org/ for more information.

Enable or disable the dragging and dropping of text and links onto a course page. If enabled when text is dragged and dropped into the course Totara will offer to add it as a label. When a link is dragged and dropped into a course Totara will offer to add it as a URL resource. 

Example of dragging and dropping a URL and text onto a course page.

 Note that the dragging of text into Firefox or between different browsers is unreliable and may result in no data being uploaded, or corrupted text being uploaded.

Enable global search

If enabled, data will be indexed and synchronised by a scheduled task. This means you can search content across the site, rather than just within a single course. However, you can still only search areas your roles and permissions give you access to.

Currently Solr is the only search engine available by default in Totara, so you will need to install this on your server before going to Site administration > Plugins > Search > Solr to configure the settings.

You can find more information about installing Solr on the Apache website.

After Solr is configured you can decide what to include in global search by going to Site administration > Plugins > Search > Search areas. 

By default, Totara's default search field names are sent to Solr and force Solr to ignore its own search field names. You can enable the setting Discard site default search field names to prevent Totara's default search field names being sent, meaning Solr is able to specify its own field names. This may improve the accuracy of the global search.


As is the case for all experimental settings, we have included global search in the development section because it is not yet considered ready for general production release by the Totara Learn developers. The global search function was adapted from Moodle. It was seen as beneficial to release an experimental version of global search in order to get feedback from the Totara community on how it can be improved to suit relevant requirements. Some of the specific concerns that were raised have been included below so that you can take them into consideration if you are looking to implement the global search. 


Completeness of results

There are many situations for which global search presently will not give a complete result set:

  • Audience visibility.
  • Access to content through staff roles/managers.
  • Unlaunched courses in programs and certifications not having enrolment records.

The consequence of the above is the results may contain items that they should not presently, and may not contain items that they should.

Performance concerns

A review of the code identified several performance concerns in the code. This more than anything represents an unknown when it comes to scalability.

Questions over the implemented design

During review several questions were raised around the design of the search results, how the results are displayed, the relevance and usefulness of the search, and whether it really would meet peoples needs.

Integration with Totara Learn

There has not yet been sufficient time to integrate Totara Learn specific functionality with search, e.g. Programs and Certifications, Seminar etc.

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

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