Totara 12 will no longer be fully supported from October 2023. Urgently consider upgrading to a later version.

Help documentation for up-to-date versions is available here.

You can navigate this glossary in one of three ways. 

  • By utilising the table on content on the right-hand side of this page
  • By scroll down the page to browse it's content
  • By searching  the page

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A learning tool within a course such as a Quiz, SCORM, or Forum which involves active participation from learners.


A piece of equipment, an individual (such as a trainer) or a service (such as IT Support) that can be linked to a Seminar event session.


A group of users which may be created manually (a Set Audience) or added and updated automatically by users meeting predefined criteria (a Dynamic Audience).  An Audience can be assigned access or visibility to specific Courses, Programs, and/or Certifications as well as assigned to specific Learning Plans, Appraisals, Goals and/or Roles.

Authenticated User

The default role given to logged in users who have not been assigned any other Role within the current Context.


The mechanism by which a user is logged into the system.  


A multi-stage, multi-page performance, learning and development evaluation online form featuring a range of custom and/or predefined questions.

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A saved copy of all, or specific items within, a course, created and stored within a compressed (zipped) file.


A digital, verifiable recognition of learning and achievement that may be issued automatically based on predefined criteria.


A Plugin type within Totara Learn that provides functionality in a widget type format. Blocks are usually located on the left or right side columns and can be moved, removed, or edited as required.

Block Region

An area within a course, front page or dashboard that can host a block.  Block regions are only visible when editing has been turned on and are indicated by a rectangle with a dotted outline and the Add a Block icon ().

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An action within Totara Learn that a specific user Role may or may not be allowed to undertake depending on their Permissions.


An electronic award of achievement based on a traditional paper-based Certificate layout. Certificates can be branded, personalised, and set to be automatically issued to individuals based on predefined criteria.


A recurring training requirement where an initial Certification and a re-certification learning path is defined, tracked, and managed to ensure completion and compliance.

Certification Image

An image representing a certification within the Featured Links block and/or the Course Catalogue. A default image is displayed unless a custom image has been added via a certification's general settings.


A grouping or folder of similar or associated Courses. A Category may have any number of sub-Categories.


A child item is an component within a hierarchical structure that sits under a top level item or a parent.


An achievement, skill, or knowledge a learner may, might or must obtain and/or demonstrate.


Types of learning that form a Learning Plan and may include Courses, Competencies, Programs, and/or Objectives.

Conditional Access

Also known as Restricted Access. Restricts access to specific activities based on the user meeting predefined criteria.

Content Marketplace

The Content Marketplace allows you to access a range of free and paid-for learning content from trusted content partners, and integrate this SCORM based content into your course catalogue as one or many new courses.


The scope of the software that a user's role assignment affects i.e. a learner in a course, a site-wide administrator. There is a definition for Role Context, but it's not referred to as that in the LMS.

Contextual Help

Help and additional information for a specific area or field identified by the (  ) icon.


A single learning environment for enrolled learners, containing content in the form of one or many Activities and Resources.

Course Catalogue

Found under Find Learning, the Course Catalogue is a searchable, filterable, customisable list of Courses, Programs and Certifications available within your Totara Learn site.  The catalogue can be displayed as a Grid, a Report or as a Category list.

Course Icon

A small square image shown against a course name within course listings and custom reports.  A default image is displayed unless a custom icon is selected within a course's settings.

Course Image

An image representing a course within the Featured Links block and/or the Course Catalogue. A default image is displayed unless a custom image has been added via a course's settings.

Course Set

A section of a program or certification comprising a course, set of courses, or a competency. One program or certification may have multiple course sets.

Course Type

A course setting indicating whether the course is offered as blended, e-learning or seminar based learning.  While this field has no impact on the activities, resources or functionality available in the coure, a filter and browse option for course type is available within the Course Catalogue.

Custom Field

A custom field allows for additional information to be captured within a form or activity.  Custom fields are created by site administrators and can include fields such as multi-choice select, short or long text, radio buttons, dropdown menus etc.  Custom fields can be created and applied to a range of areas within Totara such as Seminar Assets, Goal types, User Profiles, Courses, Programs and Certifications.

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Configurable and personalised navigation and content pages which can be assigned to specific Audiences.

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Embedded Report

A Report that is available within the LMS that has been created via the Report builder.  Embedded reports can be modified and customised as required by site administrators.

Enhanced Catalogue

An alternative Course Catalogue based on an Embedded Report.

Enrolment Plugin 

The mechanism by which a learner is enrolled in a Course.


A training event within a Seminar activity.  A Seminar may have any number of Events which are in turn made up of one or many date and time based sessions.


Evergreen is an alternative, monthly release of Totara Learn which provides the same products but with different release cycles for accessing new features.  For more information please see Evergreen release


A description, URL, and/or file demonstrating or verifying the achievement or partial achievement of a Competency, Course, Program or Learning Objective.

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An activity that allows you to create surveys or evaluations.  Not to be confused with 360 feedback which forms part of the performance management functionality.

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A Personal or Company-wide objective assigned to an individual or group of individuals.


A collection of learners within a course which allows restriction of access to specified Activities and Resources.

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A representation of a structure or framework which contains top level, or parent, items and child items. Totara Learn supports Positional, Organisational, Competency and Goal Hierarchies.

HR Import

Functionality that allows the manual or automated import, update, and deletion of User, Position, Job Assignment, Competency and/or Organisation information within the system either via csv file upload or direct external database connection. Previously known as Totara Sync and HR Sync.

HTML Editor

The text formatting options available within a content input area.  Users can apply heading styles, add images and embed links and media using the HTML editor.

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The process of taking a copy of an activity, resource, block, group, calendar event and/or quiz question(s) from one course and adding it to another.

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Language Pack

A collection of translated words and strings which may be installed on Totara Learn, to allow navigation, functionality, and contextual help to be displayed in non-UK English.

Learning Plan

A personal and/or professional development plan composed of selected learning items within one or many Components with a set workflow for creation, update, and completion.

Learning Type

The distinction between Courses, Programs and Certifications.

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A unique learning or development goal that may be set via an individual’s Learning Plan.

Objective Scale

A customisable rating system against the achievement or partial achievement of a Competency.


 A team, section, or location that sits within an Organisational Hierarchy. Organisations may be linked to Competencies and/or Goals.

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A Parent item is a component within a hierarchical structure that has sub-items or children.

Performance Management

Includes the Appraisals, 360 feedback and Goals functionality.


The Allow, Prevent, or Prohibit settings against the various Capabilities that make up the access rights within the LMS within a specific Role Context.


A core or custom module or add-on within Totara Learn which provides specific features and functionality. Examples include Activity, Authentication, and Enrolment plugins.


A job position or performed role that sits within a Positional Hierarchy. Positions may be linked to Competencies and/or Goals.


A prescribed learning path made up of one or many Courses with ‘and/then/or’ conditions between sets of courses.

Program Image

An image representing a program within the Featured Links block and/or the Course Catalogue. A default image is displayed unless a custom image has been added via a program's general settings.

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A system to accredit a learner’s previous training and experience towards the completion of Activities, Resources, and/or Courses. Stands for Recognition of Prior Learning. 


A learning item within a course such as a Page, Label, or File which involves a read or view level of participation from learners.


The process of replacing or adding a course within Totara Learn, with a previously backed up course.

Restrict Access

Also known as Conditional Access. Restricts access to specific activities based on the user meeting predefined criteria such as user profile, grade, date and completion of other activities.


The access rights and associated Capabilities an individual holds within the LMS.

Role Context

The area of Totara Learn where a Role may be assigned or overridden and includes System, User, Category, Program, Course, Activity, and Block.

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A standard for saving/packaging and launching e-learning content within Learning Management Systems and an Activity type within Totara Learn.  Stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model.

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The design, look, and feel of your site.  A theme is usually based on HTML, CSS, and Javascript. It can be either custom made or configured via the administrative interface.

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