Using Totara Learn to build a culture of learning in a government agency


The Challenge

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With the objective of building a high-performance culture where staff are encouraged to constantly enhance and upgrade their skills, the Department of Justice was faced with a set of interesting challenges.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) delivers a range of services from the Courts, Worksafe, Legal Aid, Equal Opportunities and Victim Support, through to all aspects of Corrective Services and more. That equates to a diverse set of job roles and the need to engage with a variety of target audiences distributed in many locations across the state of Tasmania.

The traditional way of delivering training was face-to-face, however DoJ recognised that with the growing need to offer timely learning opportunities and meet increasing compliance needs, a blended learning approach was the only sustainable and cost-effective way forward.

The Solution

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When putting together their requirements and a business case, DoJ’s HR team recognised the need for a Learning Management system (LMS) to efficiently deliver online learning and as part of a blended learning strategy.

DoJ needed an enterprise LMS with the range of functionality to truly manage their learning activity, such as Totara Learn. Due to the diverse needs of their target audience, the LMS had to be externally hosted to allow for anywhere, anytime access. Finally, it had to deliver good value for money and DoJ recognised that the lower cost of Totara Learn’s software subscription model, combined with Sprout Lab’s hosting and support costs, was highly competitive and inexpensive relative to other enterprise LMS providers.

The Department of Justice had a clear set of requirements for their LMS. They also realised for the LMS to be successful it wasn’t just about the technology. For the platform to be useful, employees needed content that helped them to do their job more effectively.

The Department of Justice decided to license LinkedIn Learning for every employee in the department. On day one of the launch, DoJ employees found that the LinkedIn Learning content helped them to do their jobs better without the need for the DoJ to invest in building or commissioning custom content.

Sprout Labs integrated LinkedIn Learning into Totara Learn using the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard. This means DoJ can find and launch LinkedIn Learning courses in Totara Learn and the HR team can report on these in Totara Learn.

The L&D team has curated a selection of LinkedIn Learning courses and used the dashboard feature in Totara Learn to build portals around topics.

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The DoJ L&D team now develops its own in-house content, which they’ve found very straightforward to do in Totara Learn or they link to or embed third-party content so all learning activity can be tracked in the same single LMS. Opening up the choice of how they source and author content, has also enabled the team to tailor content to different user’s needs in a much more efficient and cost-effective way. Courses such as Procurement have been reduced from a day to an hour, with the added advantage to the learner of being able to revisit the content when needed.

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The tracking and reporting of learner activity through the Totara Learner Report Builder module, also enables DoJ to have more transparent data and follow up more quickly on training needs. The DoJ HR system is integrated in Totara Learn enabling managers to see what the team has completed and the L&D team can report on learning activity by area.

The Result

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Totara Learn was progressively rolled out to different parts of the organisation in a program that included face-to-face awareness sessions to demonstrate the functionality and benefits. As each area was added, the line managers were provided with templates they could use to announce the system to their teams. The overall vision was to encourage staff to enhance and upgrade skills to meet current needs. Key to the uptake of the Totara Learn and LinkedIn Learning was the fact that L&D also encouraged staff to use LinkedIn Learning for personal learning outside of work, e.g. if you're interested in photography, here are all the LinkedIn Learning photography courses. This has been crucial in building a culture of learning.

"Totara Learn and LinkedIn Learning has revolutionised learning and development in our organisation. The HR L&D team has only two people. Before the Totara Learn, the only training we could really provide was induction training, which was often delivered months after people started. Now our people have access to over 5,000 LinkedIn Learning courses. We have been able to produce shorter, customised, targeted training for our people. The procurement course is a good example, used to take a full day and it wasn’t customised to our policies and systems. Now we have a one-hour program that exactly meets our needs. That program alone cost us $60,000, and Totara only cost a third of that a year plus our time to develop content. Senior managers are excited that we are leading the way with eLearning in the Tasmanian State Government."

John Withers, Assistant Director HR Operations and Strategy

The Department of Justice is committed to building a high-performance culture that encourages staff to enhance and upgrade their skills to meet current needs, develop the capability to meet future employment requirements, as well as supporting employee career development and individual aspirations. Totara Learn and Linkedin Learning have provided a powerful learner-driven centralised platform for delivering this vision.

The expenditure on face-to-face external training has been dramatically reduced. Employees are able to choose to use Linkedin Learning instead. The Department of Justice has been able to deliver whole-of-organisation training in areas such as work health and safety and family violence awareness. This has increased the capabilities of the organisation and reduced the organisation’s risk. Before the implementation of Totara Learn this wasn’t possible.

This project has led to innovation and reform and modernisation of learning in other Tasmanian State Governments agencies. The Tasmanian Department of State Growth and the Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet have followed with the same model of:

  • a cloud-hosted Totara Learn with Sprout Labs
  • licensing of LinkedIn Learning
  • a focus on developing their own resources.

These implementations are building on the expertise the Department has developed and is leading to new types of resource sharing and cost-saving within government.

justice tas award

This project won a silver LearnX award in the best LMS deployment.