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Competency frameworks are hierarchical structures that allow you to organise your competencies. A competency framework will contain multiple competencies, which can be arranged into parent and child relationships as required, or kept at the same level. 

To view and edit all competency frameworks and competency scales go to Quick-access menu > Competencies.

Competency frameworks list.

Competency frameworks are (by default) listed in the order of creation, with the number of competency items within each framework listed within the Competencies column.

You can also perform a number of Actions on competency frameworks including:

  • Edit (): Select to update the competency framework
  • Hide/show (, ): The open eye indicates the competency framework is visible/shown and the crossed-out eye indicates the framework is hidden (click on the icon to change the visibility setting)

  • Delete (): Use to remove the competency framework
  • Move Up () and Move Down (): Use the arrows to move a framework up or down the display list

When competency frameworks are hidden, all competencies within the framework are also hidden within any related items such as learning plans (Totara Learn only).

Creating a competency framework

Competency frameworks are used to break up competencies into multiple groups based on topic, department, or other logical groupings.

To set up a new competency hierarchy:

  1. In the quick-access menu go to Competencies.
  2. Click Add new competency framework.
  3. Complete the settings as desired.
  4. Click Save changes.

Your competency framework is now set up and is ready for you to enter your Competency items.

Competency framework settings 


Full Name

The full name of the competency framework. Try to make this something succinct and meaningful. -
ID NumberUnique ID number for the framework.This will need to be set to import competencies via HR import. 
DescriptionAn optional description of the competency framework, this can help others utilise it correctly. -


You can select a Competency scale to use with your competency framework. 


Exporting all competency items

Site Administrators can export all competency items (grouped by framework) and their associated fields in either Excel, .csv or .ods format.

To export all competency items:

  1. In the quick-access menu go to Competencies.
  2. Select the required format under Export items from all frameworks.
  3. Click Export.

The export file content structure is suitable for use in HR Import. You can use HR import to add or update competencies. 

Totara Academy

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

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