Tesco – Academy (Totara LMS)
Kineo’s Managing Director, Steve Rayson reports from the first European Totara LMS conference on how Tesco, the UK’s largest private sector employer, is using Totara LMS to manage its learning programmes.
At the conference, Tesco’s Jane Williams outlined the challenges they faced. Tesco wanted its new online learning portal to deliver a great 'user experience'; they needed sophisticated management of programmes and they also wanted to make sure it was cost-effective and avoid per-user licence fees. The reason for avoiding per-user licence fees became obvious when Jane outlined that the platform also had to be able to scale to meet the learning needs of over 400,000 staff across Tesco's global businesses.
“Tesco was looking to develop a new learning portal that would deliver a world class user experience for its staff."
The Totara LMS Solution
Tesco had been interested in exploring open source technology and its ability to reduce the costs of software ownership for some time. Tesco had previously worked with Kineo to deploy a Moodle based LMS solution and were very interested when Totara, a custom distribution of Moodle designed specifically for corporate enterprises, was released.
Tesco already had a shopping list of requirements that were not met by Moodle and were pleased to see most of these included in Totara’s extended functionality. This included:
However, Totara LMS didn’t meet all of their requirements. One in particular was the need for sophisticated programme management. They wanted to enable administrators to build structured programmes from the course catalogue and assign learning for divisions of personnel or the entire organisation en masse. The requirement was for user friendly management tools to set up training programmes set for individuals, job roles or business units within an organisation and to manage reminders, mandatory learning and re-accreditations.
It was clear from the outset that Tesco’s needs were similar to many other organisations. Sven Laux, Kineo’s IT Director and Totara Product Director, looked at how the new requirements could be incorporated into the core Totara LMS product. In this way both Totara and Tesco would benefit. Totara, from investment and testing with a large corporate client; and Tesco from incorporation of the functionality in the core product which would be maintained by Totara going forward.
The new Programme Functionality was built and deployed by Tesco in the summer of 2011 and was included in the release of Totara 1.1 at the start of October 2011.
Working with Kineo and their hosting partners Rackspace, Tesco addressed many of the common concerns around open source products such as:
Totara LMS has been rolled out to Directors across all countries and to retailing services, and there is a planned roll out across the business over the next 12 months.
In addition to reducing costs significantly, over £1m per annum, Totara has delivered on the promise of ease of use, sophisticated programme management and an engaging learner experience. The feedback from the learners has been positive at all levels. Examples include:
“This is a great tool… really supporting me as a manager.” – Senior Buyer, Food
“At last a system that delivers what it promises.” – Commercial Director
“It’s so clear and simple.” – HR Director
“This is a great tool, really supporting me to get my guys on courses relevant to their needs and I can see this can only add benefit.” – Senior Merchandising Planning Manager
Sven Laux commented: “We are really pleased to help a fantastic brand like Tesco realise its vision. It's also been an opportunity to demonstrate just how well an Open Source LMS such as Totara can work at scale in a corporate environment.”
With success stories like this, I'm certain that we'll see a lot more corporate open source Totara LMS solutions in the future. Already in the first six months since the launch of Totara LMS over 50 organisations have subscribed to Totara including:
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