Certifications are very similar to programs, with both facilitating the creation of adaptive learning paths, where completion dependencies can be defined and the order and flow of the courses learners complete can be controlled.
However, unlike programs, certifications are only valid for a certain period of time, after which the system will prompt the learner to re-certify. This is useful for skills that need to be updated, or where a learner may need to demonstrate compliance with changing policies, practices, or regulations.
A certification includes completion dates and time frames for enrolled learners to complete each stage of the certification. Personalised and customised messages and reminders can also be configured to be automatically sent to enrolled learners and their managers.
Learners can be enrolled on certifications based on their organisation, position, management hierarchy, individually or via an audience, with different completion criteria may be set for each group if required.
Creating a certification
- Select Certifications from the Site administration menu.
- Select Add a new certification.
- Complete the Details section.
- Add certification Content.
- Add certification Assignments.
- Create certification Messages as required.
- Set the Certification period.
- Select Save changes.
Alternatively, site administrators, site managers and course creators can create new certifications via the Course Catalogue:
Go to the Course Catalogue via Find Learning within the top navigation
Select Create and choose Certification from the dropdown list.
Click Save Changes.
Editing a certification
Once a certification has been created it is still possible to make changes by editing the certification, although be aware that if a certification is live, any changes made will impact on the assigned learners.
- Go to Certifications within the Site administration menu.
Select the name of the category (or sub category) in which the certification sits
- Select the corresponding Settings icon () for the required certification, or select the certification name to open it, then select Edit certification details.
- Edit the certification Details, Content, Assignments and Messages as required, as described below.
- Select Save changes on each page to save any edits or Cancel to disregard.
A certification can also be deleted, moved up or down the certification listing page, or moved to another category within the category certification listing using the corresponding Edit icons.
Adding certification details
The Details section includes basic information about the certification and core settings for display and availability.
Select which course category the certification should sit under.
|The category selected has no impact on which courses can be selected within the certification and is for site organisation and navigation purposes only.|
The name or title of the certification.
|This will be displayed in the certification overview area and within the Course Catalogue.|
The short or abbreviated name of the certification. The display of a certification short name is limited across the site.
|The short name must be unique.|
An optional field to provide a certification ID number.
|A certification ID can be used to match external systems for data exchange purposes|
Set a date from which the certification is available to learners.
This won't affect actions for users already assigned to the certificate, for example these users will still receive certificate messages.
If Available from and Available until dates are set, learners will be able to find and enter the certification during the period specified by the dates but will be prevented from accessing the certification outside of those dates.
|Available Until||Set a date until which the certification is available to learners||After the date specified, the certification will not appear on any certification listings or be accessible, except to administrators.|
The summary or certification description text is displayed in the search certification page and when a learner is viewing the details of the certification.
|This text can also be used within the Course Catalogue.|
The summary file is displayed in the list of certifications.
|Summary files might include certification descriptors or relevant images files relating to the certification.|
The certification end note displays when the learner has completed the certification.
|Visible||When checked, the certification will appear in certification listings and search results, and learners will be able to view the certification contents. When unchecked the certification will not appear in certification listings or search results, but the certification will still be displayed in the learning plans of any learners who have been assigned to the certification, and learners can still access the certification if they know the certification's URL.|
This option is only displayed if audience-based visibility is not enabled on the site.
Select which group of users can see the certification in the Course Catalogue and within any list of certifications. Choose from:
|Current icon||Choose a certification icon from the available list. Icons can be displayed within certification lists and within the Course Catalogue|
Add new icons via Courses > Custom icons under the Site administration menu.
Graphic files will be resized to 35 x 35 pixels automatically
|Image||Choose an image to associate with the certification.||This image will become the background image if this certification is added as a certification tile in a Featured Link Block. This image will also display in the Course Catalogue.|
|Tags||Associate tags to the certification.||Tags can be added as filters or search terms within the Course Catalogue.|
|Allow extension requests|
When enabled users can submit extension requests for this certification which can then be approved or denied by their manager. If a user has more than one job assignment with different managers, an extension request notification is sent to all of the user's managers and any of them can approve or deny the extension request.
Program/certification extension requests need to be enabled on the Advanced features page to be able to allow or disallow extension requests for a certification.
|Custom fields||Any custom fields that have been added to the site for certifications will be displayed here.||Certification custom fields can be added via Programs > Custom fields from the Site administration menu.|
Creating certification messages
Customised, automated messages can be created and emailed to all users assigned to a certification. An optional message for the managers of each assigned learner can also be added, depending on the message type selected.
When adding messages to a certification, open the Messages tab in the relevant certification and follow the below steps:
- Select the required message type from the Add a new drop down menu and choose Add.
- If relevant, set a time based Trigger for the message being sent
- Add a Subject line and Message body, using variables as required.
- Select Send notice to manager to send a message to the manager of a learner at the same time the learner message is sent. If a learner has multiple job assignments with more than one manager, the message will be sent to all managers.
- Add a Subject line and Message body for the manager notice, using variables as required
- Select Save changes to save the message(s).
If a subject is not provided i.e. the field is left blank, the manager subject is populated with the default language strings for each message type.
The Enrolment message and Exceptions report message is added by default for every certification.
The subject of the message will be displayed to recipients within their Dashboard.
|Enrolment message||A message is sent to the learner when they are assigned to a certification.|
|Exceptions report||A message is sent to site administrators when there are new exceptions on the certification. An exception occurs when the system is not able to process an action related to the certification, e.g. the completion date is set for 30 days from the position start date, but this field is empty for a user assigned to the certification.|
A message is sent to a learner if they are unenrolled from a certification.
|Program due||A message is sent to the learner a set number of days, weeks or months before the learner is due to complete the certification.|
|Program overdue||A message is sent to the learner when the certification completion date for the learner has passed.|
|Program completed||A message is sent to the learner when they complete the certification.|
|Course set due|
Sent a certain length of time before the current course set is due. The due date is calculated by adding the course set Minimum time required to the date the user started the course set.
|Course set overdue||Sent a certain length of time after the current course set is due. The due date is calculated by adding the course set Minimum time required to the date the user started the course set.|
|Course set completed||This message will be sent whenever a course set is completed.|
A message is sent to a learner a set period of time after they have completed the certification.
|Recertification window open||Sent when the learner has entered the period when they can recertify.|
|Recertification window due to close||Sent when a recertification period is about to expire.|
|Failure to recertify message||Sent when a recertification period has expired and the learner will need to repeat the original certification.|
Variables can be inserted into the Subject and/or body of a Message so that they will be replaced with personalised or the relevant values when the message is sent. Variables should be inserted exactly as shown.
|%userfullname%||Replaced by the recipient's full name.|
|%username%||Replaced by the recipient's username.|
|%programfullname%||Replaced with the full name of the certification.|
|%completioncriteria%||Replaced by the completion criteria set in the Assignments tab.|
|%duedate%||Replaced by the date assigned to the user to complete the certification.|
|%managername%||Replaced by the learner's manager's name. If a learner has multiple job assignments with more than one manager, a list of all manager names will be generated, separated by commas.|
|%manageremail%||Replaced by the learner's manager's email address. If a learner has multiple job assignments with more than one manager, a list of all the manager email addresses will be generated, separated by commas.|
|%setlabel%||Replaced with the course or competency set label or name.|
Setting recertification details
The Certification section defines how long a certification is considered active and when a learner must complete their recertification.
This setting determines how the expiry date is calculated when a user completes the certification or recertifies. Choose from:
Use certification completion date
|When a user completes one of the certification paths (original or recertification), the expiry date will be calculated based on the date that the completion occurred. The active period is added to the completion date.||Over the span of several recertifications, this option can cause the expiry date to drift backwards (when completed early) and forwards (when completed overdue).|
Use certification expiry date
Calculate the new expiry date based on the previous one. The first time this is calculated, it adds the active period to the assignment due date if there is one, otherwise it uses the date the certification was completed.
If the user is overdue or expired, it adds the active period to the date the primary certification was just completed (as if the user was newly assigned), so that certifications are active for a minimum of the active period.
|Over the span of several recertifications, this option can cause the expiry date to drift forwards (when completed overdue) but not backwards.|
|Use fixed expiry date|
This option causes the expiry time to be calculated based on the specified assignment due date (if available, otherwise the first completion date), and subsequent completion expiry dates will be calculated using that same base date, regardless of whether they are late or early.
The active period is repeatedly added to the base date until the first future date is discovered. The Minimum active period is available only with this setting, and must be at least as big as the Recertification Window (see the Minimum active period help for more information)
|:Over the span of several recertifications, this option will prevent the expiry date from drifting forwards or backwards.|
Determines how long a certification, once complete, will be active or valid before it expires.
|Certification is active for||Enter a numerical value in the field and select Day(s), Week(s), Month(s) or Year(s).||-|
|Minimum active period|
When Use fixed expiry date is set, this option specifies the minimum length of time that the certification will be guaranteed to be active. If a user completes their certification and there is less than this amount of time until it would be due to expire, the expiry date is pushed forward by another whole active period
Specifies the period before the certification expires that a learner can start recertifying. When the window opens, all course and activity completion data will be reset, including courses and activities completed by RPL.
Set the Period window opens before expiration by entering a value in the field and selecting either Day(s), Week(s), Month(s), or Year(s) from the dropdown.
Click Save changes before navigating away from the page.
Tracking and editing certification completion
The Program Completion Editor must be enabled via Advanced features via the Site administration menu for the Completion tab to appear within a certification.
Please see the dedicated Certification completion editor help documentation page for more information.
Setting a default image for all certifications
Each certification within Totara Learn can be represented within the Course Catalogue by a custom image as set within the certification Details. A default image, for those certifications without a custom image, can be set at the site level by following the below steps:
- Select Certifications from the Site administration menu.
- Click on the Set default image for all certifications link.
- Drag and drop or upload an image in the Default image field.
- Select Save changes.
Certification editing capabilities
It is possible to assign a variety of editing permissions within the certification functionality. Any user with one or more of the following capabilities will see an Edit certifications details button whenever they view a certification.
By clicking on this they will then see the Overview tab, followed by additional tabs based on the capabilities they have assigned to them as follows:
- totara/certification:configuredetails: For the Details
- totara/certification:configurecontent: For the Content tab.
- totara/certification:configuremessages: For the Messages tab.
- totara/certification:configureassignments: For the Assignments tab.
- totara/program:handleexceptions: For the Exceptions tab (this applies even if there are no exceptions currently).
- totara/program:editcompletion: For the Completion tab
- totara/certification:configurecertification: For the Certification tab.