241966The biggest news of the week perhaps is the announcement by Totara LMS that it no longer just a “distribution” of Moodle, but is forking as of 2016. A fork means that it will no longer be “in lockstep” with core Moodle. Setup in 2011 as a distribution of Moodle specifically geared for governments and corporations, Totara offered a few additional features to users that Moodle did not (such as competency tracking). Later came Totara’s partner network which certified many (including existing Moodle Partners) to officially offer Totara services.

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Today Richard Wyles, CEO of Totara announced that their relationship with Moodle was changing suggesting that it was more of a breakup than any amicable split,

From 2016 onwards we will no longer be in lockstep. Totara LMS will progressively diverge from its Moodle foundations…

The leadership of Moodle Pty Ltd has made it clear to us that it is their intent to clone recent Totara LMS versions to offer the market ‘Moodle for Workplace.’ In contrast to the millions of dollars of investment and hundreds of thousands of lines of code that we’ve developed to create Totara LMS, cloning in itself does not add further value and does not present a sustainable strategy. Conversely, if Moodle HQ forks Totara LMS to create an ongoing Moodle variant for workplace learning, and they invest in that branch and support it, then this provides customers with more options from which to select. It is my view that the team at Totara Learning are more closely focused on the needs of corporate users, and that our partnership and support models are more aligned to successful outcomes for partners and customers alike…

As we look ahead, it’s incredibly exciting to see the collective impact that arises from fully charting our own direction – bringing together the talented team at Totara Learning and our extended innovation network of Totara Partners and customers.


No information on the Moodle for Workplace yet, though the Competencies Framework (as previously posted) was developed by Totara and may be the basis for Moodle’s own Competency Based Education framework.

Interesting times for Moodle for sure. Phil Hill at e-Literate has a great write up of Moodle’s “inflection point” and this particular announcement at http://mfeldstein.com/breaking-totara-lms-forks-from-moodle-and-changes-relationship/

Note: both Totara LMS and certified vendors of the product, such as Moonami, HowtoMoodle, and Synergy Learning support Moodlenews.com.

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  1. Don, that’s to be seen. There’s some overlap in the partners for each distro but I’m not sure/it’s not clear what the monetary/financial relationship was between TotaraLMS and Moodle in the past.

  2. […] The recent announcement by Totara that they will fork their development in 2016 and no longer remain lockstep with Moodle has been seen as a significant shift in Moodledom. However, for those in the Moodle community who are not intimately familiar with both platforms, the simple and fundamental question of “what’s the difference?” is important to answer. Fortunately, the folks over at Paradiso have provided a straightforward and essentially comprehensive comparison of the two platforms. […]


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