Moodle or Totara LMS – which learning management system is best for my organisation?

Both Moodle and Totara LMS allow learners to use a wide range of activities for assessment, communication, collaboration, information sharing and deploying content. Which learning platform is best for your organisation will depend on your requirements.


The right LMS for your organisation will depend on what you need your LMS to do now and in the future. Below are some key questions you should consider when evaluating your needs in relation to Moodle and Totara LMS.  The same questions could be asked of any LMS you are evaluating.

Moodle effectively tracks learners progress through single courses and activity completion and allows you to export graded learning reports for analysis. However, if your organisation has other reporting needs such as reporting across multiple courses, creating attendance reports, reporting on competencies, learning plans, appraisals and more then Totara LMS is the best solution for you. Totara LMS gives you the ability to create, schedule and email your own custom reports, along with creating graphical reports and customized dashboards. These can be made available to managers in the organisation to help them manage their teams more effectively.

Reporting capability is one of the biggest drivers for organisations selecting Totara LMS.

Totara LMS allows you to import your organisations hierarchy and structures from your HR system or to establish them directly in the system. Combinations of job roles, departments and regions can be used to automatically assign learning courses and competencies, including recurring topic requirements. These structures can then be used within reports. It is not possible to establish organisation hierarchies and manage audiences in Moodle.

Totara LMS allows managers to approve, decline and edit training requests and learning plans and assign personal and company goals to staff. Managers can also access personalized dashboards showing an overview of their team, along with access to custom real-time reports. This empowers managers to help drive compliance and more effective management.

Totara LMS allows you to set up and effectively manage learning plans (personal development plans). You can show all the learning, competencies, and objectives employees are working on now, their upcoming deadlines, what is mandatory and what to prioritise. Learners monitor their progress and directly access learning activities. You are also able to structure the workflow between learners and their managers. This functionality is not available in Moodle.

Face-to-face learning remains a highly-effective training method even in the most modern of organisations. Both Moodle and Totara LMS allow you to organize and manage courses, schedules, rosters, track attendance and cancellations. However Totara LMS goes further, allowing you to manage rooms, assets, waiting lists, study leave processes, tracking recurring training requirements, managing learners though a sequence of courses, along with issuing customized certificates and enforcing pre and post course requirements.

Both Moodle and Totara LMS recognise the need that businesses have to manage fully blended learning programs with a mix of learning interventions a summary of these is shown here. To further extend the range of learning options, Totara LMS can also be integrated with a separate social learning platform, Totara Social, which you can read more about here.

Performance management and learning are closely related. If you would like one system to manage your learning and performance review / appraisal processes then Totara LMS offers a flexible and effective solution. There is currently no way to manage performance reviews / appraisal within Moodle.

Support model

Just like Moodle, Totara LMS is Open Source, you can request changes to the code, add new themes and install custom plugins to customise the system for your organisation. To ensure you have peace of mind, customers pay an annual subscription fee for Totara LMS which gives you commercial-grade quality assurance and support including  regular software updates, emergency security patches, error correction and a constant stream of new innovations. It offers the best of both worlds – Open Source combined with the support and backing of global experts in learning technologies.

Subscription fees allow Totara to provide a dedicated Support Team who span the world. The online helpdesk offers ticketed support, while you can always get advice and suggestions from the Totara Community along with online discussion forums.


If you’re considering a new Learning Management System, it’s worth bearing in mind the partners/vendors you may work with. While many Moodle Partners will have experience in the business sector, Totara Partners have a proven understanding of the challenges and time criticality of LMS implementations within corporate organisations. Here at Think Associates we specialise in healthcare and other high compliance sectors, where our clients particularly value the powerful competency, targeted training, manager approval and reporting features of our Totara installations.


With Totara LMS, whether you have a 500 or 250,000 users you are regularly asked which features you’d like to be developed and can post your ideas within a dedicated and active Totara community of over 7 million users. New developments are frequently released and for any immediate needs you may have we have an in-house development team who are able to quickly create bespoke developments.

If you’ve not seen Totara LMS in action for a while now is a great time to take a fresh look. Please contact us to arrange a demonstration.

Moodle vs Totara LMS - Resources

Click here to download a Moodle vs Totara LMS comparison table.

Click here to download a copy of the Totara LMS functionality overview.