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Manage appraisals

Totara Learn provides an appraisal form builder to allow an administrator to create custom appraisal forms and assign the forms to groups of people within their organisation. Typically the appraisal process takes place over a specific time-frame, so administrators can define specific 'Stages' during which certain actions must be completed. It is also possible to notify participants that actions are required or are overdue.

Appraisal forms are managed site-wide by going to Site administration > Appraisals > Manage appraisals.

An overview of existing appraisals will be displayed, including the name, start date, number of learners assigned, status of the appraisal, and a series of options to edit, copy, delete, or activate the appraisal.

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The number displayed in the 'Learners' column have a different meaning depending on the appraisal status.

  • Draft: Contains the number of currently assigned users.
  • Active: Contains the number of assigned users who haven't yet completed the appraisal.
  • Closed: Contains the total number of users who have been assigned at any point while the appraisal was active.

Appraisal activation

Once an appraisal has been populated with stages, questions and roles, and users have been assigned to the appraisal, it must be activated for appraisees to access and complete the form.

By default, no notifications are sent out upon activation, however you can define emails to be sent out by creating an 'assignee gains access to the appraisal' event within the Appraisal Notifications area.

All assigned appraisees will receive this notification via email alerting them to the appraisal activation.   Appraisees added to an activated Dynamic appraisal will be sent the appraisal activation notification when assigned.

Activation email recipients and multiple job assignments

The appraisee's manager (and their manager's manager and appraiser) may also receive activation notifications. The point at which the manager receives the notification is dependent on the multiple job assignment setting within the Advanced Features area.

When appraisees are assigned to the appraisal their nominated manager receives the notification as per the following:

  • If multiple job settings are disabled, then the appraisee will have one manager who will receive the activation notification at the same time as the appraisee.

  • If multiple job settings are enabled, then only the appraisee receives the activation notification initially. Once the appraisee has viewed the appraisal and selected their relevant job assignment, the activation messages will be sent to the appraisee's manager.

Modify an appraisal

Existing appraisals can be modified until they have been activated and made available to users.

To modify an existing appraisal, select the Settings (pencil icon) button under the Options column.

To duplicate an appraisal, including all of the stages, pages, and elements, select the Copy button. A cloned copy of the appraisal will appear that you can update.

Unlocking an appraisal

Users assigned a role with the 'totara/appraisal:unlockstages' capability, can unlock and reopen previously closed stages for a specific appraisee for one or all roles, and for any stage of the appraisal form. 

Under the Assignments tab of the selected Appraisal form, select the corresponding Edit icon () under the Edit current stage column.

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In the Edit current stage screen, select the required individual listed under Role/user to change or select All rolesUse the Set current stage to dropdown menu to unlock the required section for the selected role(s).   Choose Save changes to unlock the specified stage for the selected user(s) or Cancel to return to the Assignments tab home screen

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Unlocking stages will not delete any of the users' answers - instead users will be able to view and edit previous responses. 

You may want to only unlock an appraisal for a single user, or for all users. If you are unlocking an appraisal for a single user, then each stage will not require other users to recomplete the stage. Edit current appraisal stageImage RemovedFor example:

  • Stage 1 requires Manager and Learner input
  • Stage 2 requires Learner input
  • Stage 3 requires Manager and Learner input

If stage three was completed and you then unlocked back to stage one for the Manager, the Manager would need to make their changes and complete stage one again. Once they complete stage one the appraisal would immediately skip to stage three, as stage two does not require any Manager input. If you choose to unlock the appraisal for All roles, each user will need to complete each stage again, even for stages they do not need to amend.


It is important to note that new notifications will not be generated when using this feature. Therefore this feature should not be used to re-do appraisals - instead it should only be used to fix mistakes, when involved users are aware that they need to recomplete a stage (or stages).

Close an appraisal

If an activated appraisal needs to be removed from the users assigned for some reason, it can be closed. This means that users do not need to complete the appraisal and will stop receiving notifications about it. After an appraisal is closed, it can also be deleted using the Delete button under the Options column.

The Activate link in an activated appraisal turns into a Close link. Note that the delete button is greyed out because an active appraisal cannot be deleted.

  1. Select the Close link to end the appraisal. The number of users who have not completed the appraisal will be displayed.
  2. Check Send alert to affected users if users should receive a notification that the appraisal is being closed.
  3. Enter an Alert title which will be the subject line of the email notification users receive. This will also be the line that appears on the user's dashboard alerts.
  4. Enter an Alert body which will be the body of the email notification users receive. This will also be available if the user clicks the information icon in the dashboard alerts area to get more detail on the notification.
  5. Click the Close appraisal button.

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The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Appraisals in Totara Learn.