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Totara program management supports the creation of adaptive learning paths, where completion dependencies can be defined and the order and flow of the competencies and courses Learners complete can be controlled.

A program includes completion dates and time frames for enrolled Learners to complete each stage of the program. Personalised and customised messages and reminders can also be configured to be automatically sent to enrolled Learners and their managers.

Learners can be enrolled in a programs based on their organisation, position, management hierarchy, individually or via an audience, with different completion criteria set for each group if required.

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This feature is also available in the Totara Mobile app. Please note that both programs and certifications work slightly differently in the Mobile app compared to on a desktop site. 

Creating a program

  1. Select Programs from the quick-access menu.
  2. Select Add a new program.
  3. Complete the Details section.
  4. Add program Content.
  5. Add program Assignments.
  6. Create program Messages as required.
  7. Select Save changes.

Manage programs page

Alternatively, Site Administrators, Site Managers and Course Creators can create programs via the Course Catalogue:

  1. Go to the Course Catalogue via Find Learning within the top navigation.

  2. Select Create and choose Program from the dropdown list.

  3. Complete the Details, Content, Assignments and Messages sections as required.

  4. Click Save Changes.

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Editing a program

Once a program has been created it is still possible to make changes by editing the program, although be aware that if a program is live, any changes made will impact on the assigned Learners.

  1. Go to Programs within the quick-access menu.
  2. Select the name of the category (or sub category) in which the program sits.

  3. Select the corresponding Settings icon () for the required program, or select the program name to open it, then select Edit program details.
  4. Edit the program Details, Content, Assignments and Messages as required, as described below.
  5. Select Save changes on each page to save any edits or Cancel to disregard.

A program can also be deleted, moved up or down the program listing page, hidden, or moved to another category within the category program listing using the corresponding Edit icons.

Manage programs within a category

Adding program details 

The Details section includes basic information about the program and core settings for display and availability.





Select which course category the program should sit under.

The category selected has no impact on which courses can be selected within the program and is for site organisation and navigation purposes only.

Full name

The name or title of the program.

This will be displayed in the program overview area and within the Course Catalogue.
Short nameThe short or abbreviated name of the program. The display of a program short name is limited across the site.
The short name must be unique.
IDAn optional field to provide a program ID number.

A program ID can be used to match external systems for data exchange purposes.

Available from

Set a date from which the program is available to Learners. 

If Available from and Available until dates are set, learners will be able to find and enter the program during the period specified by the dates but will be prevented from accessing the program outside of those dates.
Available until

Set a date until which the program is available to Learners.


After the date specified, the program will not appear on any program listings or be accessible, except to administrators.

Messages and notifications regarding the program may still be sent after this date if, for example, you have a Due date set after the Available until date.


The summary or program description text is displayed in the search program page and when a Learner is viewing the details of the program.

This text can also be used within the Course Catalogue.
Summary filesThe summary file is displayed in the list of programs.Summary files might include program descriptors or relevant images files relating to the program.

The program endnote displays when the learner has completed the program.


Select which group of users can see the program in the Course Catalogue and within any list of program. Choose from:

  • All users
  • No users
  • Enrolled users only, or
  • Enrolled users and members of the selected audience(s)

Please see Audiences for more information on creating audiences.

Audience-based visibility must be enabled via Configure features for this option to to display.

Current iconChoose a program icon from the available list. Icons can be displayed within program lists and within the Course Catalogue.

Add new icons via Courses > Custom icons in the courses block.

Graphic files will be resized to 35 x 35 pixels automatically.

ImageChoose an image to associate with the program.This image will become the background image if this program is added as a program tile in a Featured Link block and within the Course Catalogue.
TagsAssociate tags to the program.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 program, which can then be approved or denied by their manager.

Program extension requests need to be enabled on the Configure features page to be able to allow or disallow program extension requests for a program.

Custom fieldsAny custom fields that have been added to the site for programs will be displayed here.Program custom fields can be added via Programs > Custom fields from the quick-access menu.

Create new program Details tabs

Adding program content

Program content can include any set of courses or competencies within a Totara Learn site. Sets can be created by adding courses, selecting a predefined competency or setting up a single course with a recurrence.

Adding sets of courses or competencies creates the learning path of the program. Once multiple sets have been created, set dividers are employed to allow the creation of sequences or dependencies between each set.

Once the learning path has been finished, the learner has completed the program.


An example program with four course sets defined could have dependencies as follows:

  • From set one the Learner must complete one course (course A or course B) before proceeding to set two
  • From set two the Learner must complete all courses (course C and course D and course E) before proceeding to set three or set four
  • From set three the Learner must complete one course (course F) or all courses from set four (course G and course H)

Program Content tab

When adding content to a program, open the Content tab in the relevant program and follow the below steps:



Adding courses
  1. Select Set of courses from the Add a new dropdown menu and click Add.
  2. Browse through the course categories or Search for a specific course.
  3. Click on the name of each course to be added.
  4. Selected course(s) appear in the Items to add area.
  5. Click Ok to complete the course selection or Cancel to exit.
  6. Complete the course set settings as described below.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 to add another Set of courses.
  8. Select Save changes.


Note that if completion tracking is not enabled for a course, that course will not be available to add to a program.

Select courses in the order they should appear in the set.

A delete icon to remove a course from the program selection will appear on hover over.

Add course set dialogue
Adding competencies
  1. Select Competency from the Add a new dropdown menu and click Add.
  2. Browse through the competency framework(s) or Search for a specific competency.
  3. Select the name of the competency to be added.
  4. The selected competency will be displayed at the top of the dialogue box.
  5. Select Ok to complete the competency selection or Cancel to exit.
  6. Complete the competency settings as described below.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 to add another Competency.
  8. Select Save changes.

Courses linked to the selected competency will automatically be added to the set.

Add competency in program

Competency set

Adding a recurring course

A program can only have one recurring course and no other courses or competencies can be added.

  1. Select Recurring course from the Add a new dropdown menu and click Add.
  2. Browse through the course categories or Search for a specific course.
  3. Click on the name of the course to be added.
  4. The selected course will be displayed at the top of the dialogue box.
  5. Click Ok to complete the course selection or Cancel to exit.
  6. Complete the recurring course settings as described below.
  7. Select Save changes.

Please see Recurring courses to learn more.

For training programs that require more sophisticated learning paths and should be run within the same course environment each time, the certifications functionality should be employed.

Add recurring course to program dialogue box

Add recurring courses dialogue

If a Learner has already completed a course included in the program content, it will recorded as complete within the program. The program enrols the learner into the course, then checks for completion; the program itself has no effect on the completion record.

Program Set dividers

Set dividers

When adding multiple sets of courses or more than one competency to a program, conditional dividers or access rules can be added between sets. Choose from: