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When preparing your course for use you will want to add some type of content, either:

  • Course activities: Interactive tools that usually require Learners' participation
  • Course resources: Generally this is passive content that a Learner can read/access

You can also control access to activities and resources using the restrict access feature or monitor course progress with activity completion

All activities and resources are also available in the Totara Mobile app. Please note that activities and resources may work slightly differently in the Mobile app compared to on a desktop site. 


Activities are interactive items of content that you can add to a course. Unlike resources (which tend to be passive content items) activities encourage participation from Learners and other course users - whether that be making a post, submitting an assignment, casting a vote, or another interaction. There is a wide range of different activity types available in Totara Learn, from interactive SCORM e-learning modules through to glossaries, forums, seminars, quizzes and more.

You can find out more about each of the following activity types:

  • Assignments: Tasks for Learners to complete, either directly into the text editor or by uploading a file
  • Blogs: Spaces for Learners to note their reflections and notes for others to read
  • Certificates: Proof of course or program activity
  • Chat rooms: Online group discussions
  • Choices: Polls consisting of a single question
  • Databases: Databases that users can create and contribute to
  • External tools: Incorporates content from external providers
  • Feedback: Series of questions and text input fields allowing Learners to provide feedback
  • Forums: Spaces for users to post comments and discuss topics relevant to the course
  • Glossaries: Collections of searchable and browsable content
  • Lessons: A series of pages or scrolling interface presenting learning content and questions
  • SCORM packages: E-learning modules following the SCORM standard
  • Seminars: Face-to-face or virtual training events
  • Surveys: Preset surveys to help understand the effectiveness of the course
  • Quizzes: Series of questions that can be graded
  • Wikis: Informative resources that Learners can edit and contribute to
  • Workshops: Activities for Learners to submit work and peer review others' work

(This video is taken from the Courses and categories course in the Totara Academy, where you can access more resources and learning materials - including other videos). 


Resources tend to be passive content items that are useful for distributing information. They are normally added to the course by a Trainer or Site Administrator and then accessed by Learners (or other Trainers). There is a wide range of different resource types available in Totara Learn which can add depth to your courses.

You can find out more about the following types of resources:

  • Books: Multi-page resources divided into sections and chapters
  • Embedded media: Audio or video resources shown within the course page
  • Folders: A selection of related files displayed in one folder
  • IMS content packages: A collection of files following the IMS standard
  • Labels: Additional text or multimedia assets
  • Pages: Accessible and updatable web pages
  • URLs: Hyperlinks to other web pages and useful resources

Manage activities

This lists the course page activity and resource plugins currently installed and allows you to change the settings of the plugins.

  • Activity module: This list is the name of the actual activity type.
  • Activities: This column displays information on how many times the activity has been used across the course pages. When there is a number, you can click on this to see further links to which courses the activity is used in.
  • Version: Which version of the activity module plugin is being used. 
  • Hide/Show: Use this column to make the activities available. When an activity is hidden a Trainer cannot see the activity when setting up a course page.
  • Settings: Click to see the available settings for the activity plugin.

You can read more about using the various activities and resources on their dedicated pages, or learn about the different Activity Settings using this interactive video within the Totara Academy:

List of activity types.

Editing activities and resources

There are lots of ways you can quickly edit resources and activities to your preferences, including changing settings, renaming, and moving the activity or resource within your course. 

Edit menu

A shortcut menu with common actions will appear beside each activity and resource on the course page when the course has Turn editing on.

Editing options.

The options are:

  • Edit settings: Access the settings for the activity or resource
  • Move right: Indent the activity or resource on the course page
  • Move left: This is available after using Move right to reverse the indentation
  • Hide: Make the activity or resource invisible to users without show hidden activity capabilities (Learners by default)
  • Duplicate: Copy the activity or resource and its associated settings
  • Assign roles: Assign people to roles for the selected activity or resource
  • Delete: This will permanently delete the activity or resource, you will be asked to confirm the deletion

Moving items

You can use the crosshairs (Move icon) to drag and drop an item to a different topic on the page.

  1. Hover your mouse over the crosshairs (Move icon) for the item you wish to move. 
  2. Left-click and hold on your mouse.
  3. Drag the item to where you want it to go.
  4. Release the left mouse key to place the item. 

You will see a washed out version of the item where it would be placed if you released the mouse key to place it. 

Drag and drop to move an item.

Quick edit name

If you want to quickly rename an item you can do this by following these steps:

  1. Click the edit icon (Name edit icon) immediately next to the item's name. 
  2. Type the new name.
  3. Press the enter/return key on your keyboard. 

Quick editing an item name.

Group settings

If the course has groups enabled on it then you can quickly edit the group mode for any applicable activities by clicking the icon alongside the Edit menu. Cycle through the options until you get the one you want.

  • No groups (No groups icon.)
  • Visible groups (Visible groups icon.)
  • Separate groups (Separate groups icon.)

Completion settings

You cannot edit the completion settings without going into the activity settings but you can quickly see what the settings are if they are set. If activity completion is set to none then there will be no icon. Additionally you can see more on the activity completion help page.

  • Manual activity completion: Manual activity completion icon.
  • System activity completion (after meeting criteria): System activity completion icon.

Totara Academy

The Totara Academy has a program specifically for Course Creators in Totara Learn. In this program you can find a number of courses covering how to use various course activities and resources, see best practice, and give them 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 on the Totara Community?

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