Moodle vs. Totara Learn: Compare Core LMS Capabilities and More

Moodle and Totara Learn are two open-source learning management systems (LMS) that help schools and organizations provide an engaging experience to their learners. They both have robust features, such as personalized learning paths, gamification and blended learning, and they also include a cloud hosting option.

Here, we compare Moodle and Totara Learn on several factors.

What is the Main Difference Between Moodle and Totara Learn?

  • Moodle’s solutions target both schools and companies. However, Totara Learn is only intended for corporate learning.
  • Both solutions have similar features. But Moodle has an optional, fully-branded mobile app, while Totara Learn offers more robust reporting functionality.
  • MoodleCloud’s pricing info is available on its site. But Totara Learn’s cloud solution, Totara Cloud, requires a custom quote.

Product Overviews

The following excerpts from the Moodle and Totara Learn reviews summarize each software solution:

Moodle

Moodle is an open-source learning management platform designed to help schools educate their students. Moodle is based on a modular design that lets teachers and administrators build their own curriculum using plug-ins for various workflows, content and activities.

Users have a choice of either installing their Moodle account on their servers or in the cloud. The cloud-based platform, called MoodleCloud, provides several benefits, such as accessibility anytime, scalability and a very short implementation process.

There’s also the Moodle Workplace solution that allows companies to customize the LMS to fit their unique needs. It includes features such as the ability to build learning and compliance programs, organization structure, multi-tenancy, a report builder and social learning.

Totara Learn

Totara Learn is an open source LMS solution that allows organizations to fully customize their learning portals. Administrators can add plugins and other customizable features that fit their needs. The software is available on all devices, so learners can access their courses anywhere.

While Totara Learn is intended for all company sizes, Totara Cloud specifically targets small and medium businesses (SMBs) that want an easy-to-implement solution. The SaaS solution uses open source technology, but still has all the benefits of a cloud deployment (e.g., no installation needed, no worries about hosting on your own server). It has features similar to Totara Learn, and if a company needs to scale up, they have the option to host it on their own servers or work with a Totara partner.

 

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Features Comparisons

Content Development

Moodle

Users can set up personalized learning paths for individuals or teams. In addition, they can add on several of Moodle’s plugins for creating and saving course content, such as the lesson and SCORM modules, a feedback module, the Level Up module for gamification and a quiz module for tests.

Moodle Workplace includes all of these content development features, plus the ability to add files from Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive, and integrate with third-party content providers (e.g., LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, OpenSesame).

Totara Learn

Totara Learn includes a hierarchies feature that lets administrators assign learning paths based on their organizational structure. If an employee needs to complete recertification requirements, the administrator can create a personalized learning path that includes notifications of upcoming deadlines.

Users can create courses in Totara Learn and upload existing content. In addition, there’s an assessment engine that supports a variety of question types. Organizations can also purchase third-party courses from Totara’s online marketplace.

The software also has gamification features that award employees badges for completing their requirements.

Bottom Line

Both software solutions offer similar content development tools.

Collaboration/Social Learning

Moodle

Moodle has several collaboration tools. First, learners can send messages to teachers or peers, and they can also participate in forum discussions. The Workshop feature allows learners to submit their work for peer reviews, and the Blogs tool lets them write, publish and share blog posts. Additional collaboration features include a calendar and notifications.

Moodle has a built-in video conferencing solution, BigBlueButton, for virtual classes and meetings, where instructors can share audio and video content, add notes on a whiteboard in real time and create breakout rooms. Learners can also interact via chat individually or in groups. For institutions that want to use a third-party virtual tool, Moodle developers can add a Zoom plugin.

Totara Learn

Totara Learn has several features that help employees collaborate with their peers and managers. Employees can share their knowledge by creating content such as blog posts, forums and wiki pages. They can also follow topics that they’re interested in, leave comments or chat with peers individually or in groups. There’s also a glossary and database activities feature that lets administrators create a searchable database, so learners can find company- or industry-specific acronyms and terminology.

Learners can collaborate via virtual meetings as Totara Learn has a Virtual Meetings plugin that lets administrators set up Zoom or Microsoft Teams virtual meetings directly in the software.

Bottom Line

Both Moodle and Totara Learn have the same collaboration functionality. But, Moodle doesn’t have a built-in chat feature (although it integrates with Slack), while Totara Learn does.

Progress Tracking/Reports

Moodle

Teachers can track their students’ progress with the Gradebook feature, where they can sort columns, filter data and change grades if needed. They can also track both learner and course metrics with custom reports that can be scheduled to deliver to specific people or groups.

Totara Learn

With Totara Learn, managers can track learner activity and course progress with built-in reports. They can also create new reports with the custom report builder that includes options such as column charts, pie charts and horizontal bar displays. Users can drill down into the data and export reports as Excel, CSV or PDF files. They can also access all of their relevant reports in one location, as well as create personalized reporting dashboards that can be shared with specific individuals.

Bottom Line

While Moodle has the Gradebook feature and custom reports, Totara Learn has more robust reporting functionality.

Mobile Learning

Moodle

With the dedicated Moodle app, learners can access course content, even offline, send messages and receive push notifications. While the app is free, it has additional Pro and Premium plan features that cost extra for the open source version (free on MoodleCloud and if an organization works with a Moodle Partner). The Pro plan includes additional features such as QR code login, multimedia push notifications and custom search results, while the Premium plan adds on basic custom branding. Institutions with multiple sites can opt for a fully branded Moodle app with unlimited access and advanced features like a separate notifications server, Google Analytics, mobile app support via email and full app branding.

Totara Learn

Totara Learn users have access to their personalized learning portal from their mobile device, where they can see, complete and track their courses and certifications. They can download courses to complete offline and then submit results once they’re back online. The mobile app also includes a branded log-in page, push notifications and single sign-on and manual authentication options.

Bottom Line

While both solutions have similar mobile learning features, Moodle has optional, advanced features (e.g., QR code, Google Analytics, a fully branded app) that Totara does not.

Target Market

Moodle

Moodle is intended for both K-12 and higher education, whereas Moodle Workplace targets companies of all sizes.

Totara Learn

Totara Learn is intended for all company sizes in many industries, including retail, health care, nonprofit and government.

Bottom Line

Moodle has solutions for both schools and businesses, while Totara Learn is only intended for companies.

Pricing

Moodle

Moodle as an open source software is free to download. MoodleCloud has a 45-day free trial that includes 1,000 users and 5 GB of storage. Then, there are five pricing tiers that include all the features of Moodle, such as unlimited courses and activities, a mobile app, a personalized site name, session recording and web conferencing with BigBlueButton. Pricing is in U.S. currency.

  • Starter: $120 per year for 50 users and 250 MB of storage
  • Mini: $210 per year for 100 users and 500 MB of storage
  • Small: $370 per year for 200 users and 1 GB of storage
  • Medium: $870 per year for 500 users and 2.5 GB of storage
  • Large: $1,670 per year for 1,000 users and 5 GB of storage

Moodle is now providing Premium and Enterprise hosting plans for organizations with over 1,000 users, with higher storage requirements or that want more customization and flexibility. Pricing for both plans isn’t available, so companies will need to contact Moodle for a quote.

Moodle Workplace is only available via the Moodle Certified Service Provider network.

Totara Learn

Totara Learn’s open source code is free to download onto a company’s server. Totara Cloud includes a cost. However, its pricing isn’t available publicly, so contact the vendor or one of its partners directly for a quote.

Bottom Line

While both software solutions let developers download their source code for free, businesses will need to be aware of other costs they may incur, such as server maintenance or labor. Also, companies that want to purchase a cloud version of Moodle or Totara (directly or through a partner) will need to consider their pricing plans, including implementation and customer support.

Customer Support

Moodle

Moodle provides a community site where users can find information on product upgrades, download the latest release, access documentation on software features and communicate with other users through a forum. MoodleCloud users that need further support can contact their designated Moodle partner.

Moodle also hosts user conferences called MoodleMoots that allows users to network with Moodle developers and partners, as well as learn new things about Moodle. MoodleMoots are held throughout the year at various locations.

Totara Learn

Users can join the Totara Community to connect with other users, get help from the support team, participate in webinars and more. They can also browse the Totara Help knowledge base and receive additional training via Totara Academy. In addition, Totara holds a user conference that includes in-person networking, industry best practices and news concerning the software.

Phone support is available for Totara Cloud users, and clients that work with a Totara partner can reach out to their partner for additional support.

Bottom Line

Both vendors offer similar support, except that MoodleCloud doesn’t have phone support, while Totara Cloud does.

 

 

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