Search

The course catalogue may be accessed via Find learning in the top navigation menu.  The catalogue allows users to browse, search and filter for courses, programs and certifications available within the system.

Each course, program and certification within the course catalogue is represented by a tile.  By default, each tile or Item contains the full name of the learning item and an image. 

Course, program and certification images can be uploaded within their respective general settings page.

If an image has not been set for a particular learning item, the default course, program, or certification image will be used.

To view more information on a learning item, click on the image or title.

Course Catalogue

Only those learning items visible to an individual will be displayed within the catalogue.  For more information on limiting the visibility of learning items to certain individuals please see Audiences and Roles.

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Using the catalogue

The Grid Catalogue is enabled by default within all new installations of Totara Learn v12 onwards.  To use the Category or Report (previously known as the Enhanced Catalogue) display for your catalogue, go to Advanced features within the Site administration menu and select the desired option from the Catalogue type setting. 

Browse menu

Users can browse the catalogue by scrolling down the page and using Load More to display additional learning items.

By default, users can also browse learning items belonging to a specific Category or sub-category.  Other browsing options are available within the catalogue, and can be set by a site administrator via Courses > Configure catalogue under the Site administration menu or via the Configure catalogue button.

Category browsing within catalogue

Sort by

The catalogue can also be sorted and displayed in variety of ways:

  • In Alphabetical order.
  • By the most recently added items (Latest).
  • With Featured Learning items listed first (where Featured Learning has been enabled).
  • By Relevance (available after a text search term has been entered).

Display options

By default, the catalogue can be shown in Tile view or List view.  Display options can be defined by a site administrator via the Site administration menu under Courses > Configure catalogue > General.

User can also search for courses, programs and certifications using the Search all learning box.  Only those learning items available to the user will be displayed. 

The Search functionality will return matching results from any course, program and certification text field that is visible to all users including but not limited to, learning item name, summary and text based custom fields.

Users can share their current view of the catalogue using the Share button.  A unique link is generated and may be sent to other users of the site.

People who you share this URL with may not see the same catalogue items as you due to differences in visibility and permissions.


Browsing the Catalogue

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Explore content marketplace

When viewing the catalogue as a site administrator or course creator, and where a Content Marketplace has been enabled, a link to Explore Content Marketplace is provided. 

Please see Content Marketplace for instructions on using the Content Marketplace to add new learning items to the catalogue.

Creating learning items

When viewing the catalogue as a site administrator or or a user with the capability to create courses, program or certifications, a Create option is available to add new courses, program and/or certifications to the site.

Admin and course creator options within the catalogue

Please see creating courses, managing programs and managing certifications for more information.

Configuring the course catalogue

How users can interact with the catalogue, the way it displays and what information it contains can be customised by a site administrator.

When viewing the catalogue as a site administrator a Customise this page button is provided.  This page is also available via Site administration > Courses > Configure catalogue.

Contents

Specify which learning types (courses, programs, certifications) should be included within the catalogue by ticking the corresponding check-box.

Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

If you enable a new content type, it may take a short while before all associated learning items will be visible within the catalogue.

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General

The general settings area includes options for the overall display of the course catalogue.

SettingDescriptionNotes
View options

Use this setting to specify how you wish users to be able view the catalogue.  Select from:

  • Tile and list (default)
  • Tile only
  • List only

Items per 'load more'

This option determines how many learning items should be displayed before the Load more option should appear at the bottom of the catalogue:

  • 20 (default)
  • 40
  • 60
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Browse menu

This setting defines which field is displayed at the top left of the catalogue when browsing catalogue items. Options include:

  • Category (default)
  • Activity type - Show only items containing a specific activity type (e.g. SCORM, Seminar)
  • Course type - Elearning, Blended or Online
  • Format - Course format (e.g. weekly, topic based)
  • Learning type - Courses, programs or certifications
  • Tags
  • Custom fields - Browse content by any Custom course fields that have been defined.
  • None - Remove the browse option

Add Filters to restrict catalogue content by multiple criteria.

Featured Learning

Enable this option to highlight specific items within the catalogue.

Catalogue items can added as Featured Learning by a range of criteria.  This criteria, or Source, is then further refined by a specific Value.

Sources include:

  • Category
  • Course Type - Elearning, Blended or Online
  • Format - Course format
  • Tags
  • Custom fields - any Custom course fields that have been defined.

Items matching the Featured Learning criteria will be shown with a 'Featured' label.  The colour of the 'Featured' label can be adjusted via your theme CSS.

Featured is the default Sort by order when Featured Learning is enabled.

Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

Featured items withing the Course Catalogue


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Templates

The Templates area defines the layout and content shown within the tiles displaying the learning items, and the layout and content shown when viewing the details of a learning item.

The template design of the Course Catalogue allows for a consistent display across all learning items.

SettingDescriptionNotes
Item content placeholders
TitleThe name of the course, program or certificationChoose whether to display the Full name or Short name for each enabled learning type within the Item settings.
ImageEnable this field to show the course, program or certification image within the catalogue.Site wide default images will be displayed unless a custom image has been added within the settings area of a course, program or certification.

There is no default image size as images will be automatically resized if required. See Course image best practice for more guidance (on the Creating courses help page).
Hero data type

This specifies the information that you want to draw learners' attention to through visual emphasis.  Choose from:

  • None - Do not display any hero data
  • Text - Will allow you to add text based content such as Tags or Course type description to each catalogue item
  • Icon - will allow you to add image based content such as Course Icon or Course type icon to each catalogue item

The selection made under Hero data type will determine the options available within the Item settings.


Description

The selected Description field will display in the centre of the item tile.

If enabled, you will need to assign an appropriate information source for the Description for each learning item type within the Item settings.

Additional text placeholdersAdditional text based information can be displayed within each item tile. Select from 0 to 5 items.

The number of text placeholder items added here will determine the options available within the Item settings.

Icon placeholdersEnable this option to display icon based information for each learning type.

If Icon placeholders are enabled, the option to select Icon sources for each learning type will be available within the Item settings.

Progress barChoose whether completion progress bars should display for those learning items shown within the Catalogue.Only learners enrolled in a learning item will see a corresponding progress bar.
Detail content placeholder
TitleIf checked, the title of the learning item will be displayed within the detail windowChoose whether to display the Full name or Short name for each enabled learning type within the Details settings.
Rich text formatEnable this option to add rich text formatted content to the detail window for each learning item.Select where this content should be sourced from within the Detail settings area.
DescriptionThe selected Description field will display under any Rich text content shown within the detail window of each learning item.

If enabled, you will need to assign an appropriate information source for the Description for each learning item type within the Details settings.

Additional text placeholdersAdditional text based information can be displayed within the details area. Select from 0 to 5 items.

The number of text placeholder items added here will determine the options available within the Details settings.

Icon placeholdersEnable this option to display icon based information within the details area for each learning type.If Icon placeholders are enabled, the option to select Icon sources for each learning type will be available within the Details settings.

Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

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Items

The Item configuration area specifies the source of the information being displayed for each learning item in both Tile and List views, as set within the Templates tab.

SettingsDescriptionNotes
Title

Choose whether to display the Full name or Short name for each enabled learning type.

Additional Item title sources can be added by a developer.

Hero data

Hero data is displayed in the top left hand corner of a learning item tile.

Where displayed, select the Text or Icon based source of the hero data for each enabled learning type.

The options displayed are specified within the Templates settings.
Description If enabled within Templates settings, you will be to select the source for the Description for each learning type.

A Description will display under Item Title.

Additional text field(s)

Text based information regarding each enabled learning type can be added to item tiles using these fields.

The number of fields displayed here is determined by the number of text placeholder selected within the Templates tab.

After selecting the required text information sources, check the Include label option to add the title of the text field alongside the information.

Text fields and icon field display

Icon sources

If enabled within Templates settings, you will be able to choose which icons to display within learning item tiles.

  • Course Type
  • Activity type
  • Course icon
  • Program icon
  • Certification icon

Use the up and down arrows (,) to change the order in which these icons display or the delete icon () to remove the icon from the display.

As Icon sources (such as Activity type) can have more than one icon (or no icons), a learning item tile will only display as many icons as the space allows.

Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

Create custom course fields to add other information to catalogue items.

Hero data example - icons

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Details

The Details configuration area specifies the source of the information being displayed within the details of each learning item.  Learning item details are viewed when a user select a particular catalogue item.

The options displayed within the Details area are set within the Templates tab.

SettingDescriptionNotes
TitleIf enabled within Templates settings, choose whether to display the Full name or Short name for each enabled learning type.Additional Item title sources can be added by a developer.
Rich text content

If enabled within Templates settings, you will be to select the source for any rich text formatted information stored within the settings of a learning type.

This content will be displayed as formatted within the details section of a learning item.

Rich text content includes course, program and certification summary fields and any Text Area Custom Fields.
DescriptionIf enabled within Templates settings, you will be able to select the source for the  Description for each learning type.Description sources include any information stored within the general settings of a course, program or certification.
Additional text fields(s)

Text based information regarding each enabled learning type can be added to item details using these fields.

The number of fields displayed here is determined by the number of text placeholder selected within the Templates tab.

After selecting the required text information sources, check the Include label option to add the title of the text field alongside the information.
Icon sources

If enabled within Templates settings, you will be to which icons to display within learning item tiles.

  • Course Type
  • Activity type
  • Course icon
  • Program icon
  • Certification icon

Use the up and down arrows (,) to change the order in which these icons display or the delete icon () to remove the icon from the display.


Custom course text field option within Catalogue display

Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

Expanded details view

Rich Text is a format which supports limited text formatting and layout design.

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To add or edit icons, images and content use the Course Edit settings area and the Program and Certification Details tab.

Filters

Filters allow a user to restrict which the learning items are displayed within the catalogue.

Filters can include:

  • Activity type
  • Category
  • Course Type
  • Format
  • Learning type
  • Tags
  • Menu of choices, check field and multi-select custom fields

Use the Filter Heading field to create a custom title for your Filter.

Use the up and down arrows (,) to change the order in which the Filters display down the left hand side of the screen. Use the delete icon () to remove the Filter from the catalogue.

­­­Select Save to confirm your changes or select Undo changes to cancel your updates.

Course and program/certification custom fields that are of the same type and have an identical full name and short name, will be merged as a single filter within the catalogue, allowing all learning types with a matching value to be displayed.


Populated Filters in Course Catalogue

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How is the catalogue populated

Catalogue entries for courses, programs and certifications are kept up-to-date automatically by Totara Learn. When a user changes data relating to learning items, catalogue data is either updated immediately, or else marked as needing to be updated as soon as possible by scheduling a new adhoc task. Adhoc tasks are created by Totara Learn as needed and run as soon as possible on the next cron run. Whether the update is immediate, or scheduled as an adhoc task, usually depends on whether the change affects just one learning item or multiple. For example, changing the full name of a course will cause the catalogue data to immediately be updated, while changing the default value of a course custom field will cause an adhoc task to be scheduled which will update the catalogue data of all affected courses.

In addition to this, there is a scheduled task that runs once a day by default, refreshing the data in the catalogue to ensure that it is up-to-date. This scheduled task is a backup process that is designed to catch any changes to data that did not lead to an immediate or adhoc update. All standard functionality within Totara Learn is designed to make the catalogue up-to-date as soon as possible. It is possible that some customisations or third party plugins may need to be updated before they also do this, and the daily scheduled task ensures that the catalogue will be updated at least once per day in this case.

Upgrading to Totara 12 and new installations

When upgrading to Totara Learn 12 from a previous version of Totara, Catalogue type will be set to Report if the site was using the Enhanced Catalogue, or else Category. For new sites, Catalogue type is set to Grid.

When the catalogue refresh is run you may encounter an error message stating that the collation is not valid for the character set your MySQL database uses. This can result in courses not displaying in your course catalogue. If you encounter this error, follow these steps:

  1. Check your config.php for any lines which explicitly set the collation being used for the database connection: 

    $CFG->dboptions['dbcollation'] = 'utf8';
  2. Additionally, run this command line script. It will list the collation being used on all of the tables and fields in the database: 

    php admin/cli/mysql_collation.php -l 

If it turns out that all of the tables and fields are already using 'utf8mb4_unicode_ci', then adding the following line to config.php (or replacing it if found in step 1) should solve the problem:

$CFG->dboptions['dbcollation'] = 'utf8mb4_unicode_ci'; 

Turning on the Grid based catalogue

When the Catalogue type setting is changed from Report or Category to Grid, an adhoc task is scheduled which will populate the catalogue data when cron is next run. Until the task has run, the catalogue will be empty.

Other actions affecting catalogue data

There are several other actions within Totara Learn which can affect catalogue data, which include, but are not limited to:

  • When the grid catalogue is turned off (by changing Catalogue type to Report or Category), all learning items are removed immediately
  • When a feature is turned on (such as programs in Advanced settings), an adhoc task is scheduled to populate the catalogue with related learning items
  • When a feature is turned off, related learning items are removed immediately
  • When a learning type is enabled in the catalogue (in the Contents tab in catalogue configuration), an adhoc task is scheduled to populate the catalogue with related learning items
  • When a learning type is disabled in the catalogue, related learning items are removed immediately
  • When tags are turned off or on (in Advanced settings), an adhoc task is scheduled to refresh the catalogue data of all learning items
  • When tags are turned off or on for a learning type (under Appearance > Manage tags), an adhoc task is scheduled to refresh the catalogue data of the related learning items

Sorting when multiple languages are enabled

When multiple languages are installed, the sorting dropdown in the catalogue is removed. Instead, sorting is automatically managed, depending on the status of the catalogue. In order of precedence (highest first):

  • If the text search is active then sorting is by relevance
  • If Featured learning is configured then featured items will be sorted first, and the secondary sorting is by latest first (the latest featured item will appear first in the results, and the latest non-featured item will appear just after all the featured items)
  • Otherwise, sorting is by latest first

The dropdown/alphabetical sorting box can be re-enabled by setting the catalog_enable_alpha_sorting_with_multiple_languages config variable - see config-dist.php for details.

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On this page

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

Provide feedback about this page using the link in the bottom right of this page. 

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