University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

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the background.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) provides services to 1.9 million people living in Southampton and south Hampshire, plus specialist services such as neurosciences, cardiac services and children’s intensive care to more than 3.7 million people in central southern England and the Channel Islands.

the challenge.

The University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust is a large organisation that supports over 15,000 learners including a large transient population of Doctors and medical students.

the importance of reporting.

The Trust were using Moodle to provide blending learning, assignments and quizzes successfully across the organisation. However, it couldn’t track or report on the complex, recurrent training requirements of an NHS hospital (with rigorous reporting needed both internally and for external regulators, especially the Care Quality Commission). Manual, labour-intensive processes were needed to produce reports, collating compliance data from multiple platforms and systems. This was a time-intensive process and not accessible to managers across the organisation who need real-time insight to help manage compliance in their own teams and wards. With compliance figures dropping and pressure to robustly track and report compliance, the Trust were keen to find a new solution.

Totara Learn was seen as a natural next step for the Trust. It allowed them to build on their experience with Moodle and offer a familiar solution to already engaged staff, yet take advantage of the additional functionality available.

the solution.

Think have used their experience of both Totara and Moodle to implement an effective transition to Totara Learn.

There are a number of options to migrate from Moodle to Totara, but the Trust decided to start with a fresh Totara installation and select what information they wanted to transfer from Moodle. This provided a useful data cleansing opportunity and allowed the team to rationalise their learning catalogue. They were able to retain ‘custom plug-ins’ developed on Moodle to build on previous investment. The following were key aspects of the Totara Learn solution implemented:

course management.

The ‘back-up and restore’ process allowed courses to be easily migrated from Moodle to Totara. Quizzes, assignments and SCORM modules were all retained and transferred. The course catalogue was rationalised to help signpost and guide users through compliance and CPD courses, and to improve navigation and reporting. Clinical systems training has remained a significant part of the learning catalogue.

staff engagement and system access.

All user accounts were transferred from Moodle to Totara with the same access and login details. Totara supports bespoke theming and Think’s Design team created a look-and-feel that matched the Moodle’s corporate branding, but also built on it with the extra features and flexibility provided by Totara. Users therefore recognised the familiarity of the LMS, but were impressed by the extra functionality’.

management hierarchies.

Totara’s powerful feature which enables manager/staff relationships and hierarchies meant that the Trust’s team structures could be integrated from their HR System (ESR) into Totara. This means reports can be produced using the same structures. In addition, changes to manager/staff hierarchies (which occur frequently) can be highlighted by the users themselves within Totara. Approval processes mean this data can in turn improve the quality of data within their HR system.

audience management.

Highly customisable audience management options have allowed the learning and development team to map specialist training requirements for extended, role-specific training and competency compliance. The dynamic and maintenance-free approach to establishing target audiences allows them to effectively track compliance.

The creation of target audiences can utilise any combinations of available HR data including job role, pay band, cost centre, occupational codes and professional registration status. This gives the Trust confidence that new starters and new positions within the organisation will have compliance requirements set automatically and this will reflect accurately within reports.


A key Totara feature is Certifications, which enable the Trust to target and manage recurring, complex training pathways. This freedom of choice over learning pathways has empowered learners and engages them to achieve compliance. Certifications clearly show users their routes to compliance, and provide the Trust with the robust, real-time compliance reporting they need (based on renewal period and target audience).


The L&D team were able to stop managing classroom training in a separate system, and integrate it alongside the online and social learning in the LMS, with Totara’s feature-rich classroom training module. This created powerful economies of scale, and enabled a far more blended, sophisticated approach to overall learning management.


Totara’s sophisticated Report Builder enables the Trust to create and share colour-coded compliance reports at all levels of the organisation, showing real-time compliance figures and statistics across their mandatory topics. Think have used their knowledge of healthcare reporting requirements to develop specific Dashboards and report sources that match NHS Trust hierarchies and reporting lines.

the results.

Totara Learn has provided a learning and performance technology solution that meets the University of Southampton NHS Foundation Trusts’ needs.

The implementation has been recognised as a positive change for staff who can now book face to face training, apply for study leave, access elearning and manage their training compliance through the system. Managers also have access to reports that allow them to manage their team’s learning and compliance needs proactively as well as help to reduce the DNA rates within the Trust.

The Trust has moved from having no accurate compliance reports to being able to provide a full suite of populated accurate reports, fulfilling internal and CQC reporting needs and allowing managers to proactively manage compliance.

The transition from Moodle to Totara has allowed them to rationalise systems and remove the need for a separate compliance reporting system (requiring regular training record and HR data uploads to produce reports) from their learning technology architecture.

Course administrators around the hospital have access to manage courses mark and grade assignments. Subject Matter Experts and Team Administrators are also able to access aspects of the system to make processes more efficient.

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