Moodle VS Totara – Who Wins the Battle?

As you know, Moodle is a community where you can discover the meaning and the value of an effort that is opened and collaborative and is done by the largest open-source teams in the world. This open sourced platform started in 2006 and since then, it has improved and is now one of the leading LMS solutions.

The global corporate are searching always for new and practical features, and they were looking for it in Moodle. However, they needed custom development, and that is the reason why Totara was developed. Totara is a custom distribution of Moodle created for the Enterprise and with it you can find a lot of new features that are needed for the business, while still retaining all of the good functionality of Moodle. It can upgrade the lock step into the underlying Moodle roadmap and you still have the LMS benefits from the active development community.

Moodle VS Totara

We can begin with one main difference; Totara is for business and Moodle is for universities.

System Roles

  • Related to the system roles, the difference between Moodle and Totara is that Totara can inbuilt user roles for students, teachers and administrators. It can also improve in the roles for managers, regional managers and assessors, and when compared with Moodle, it is only enabled to build user roles for admin, learner and tutor.

Competencies and Organizational Roles

  • The ability to customize the roles and permissions is available on the both solutions, but creating organizational roles, hierarchies and frameworks is something that Totara has and Moodle does not. Related to the map about organizational the roles, the users for those roles and the map of learning the content to competencies, everything that is included in Moodle is also contained in Totara and not within Moodle, which proves to be a disadvantage for Moodle. Also, Totara is ahead of Moodle related with the submission of the evidence and the automatic evaluation.

Individual Learning Plan

  • Viewing the record of learning, submissions, feedback and grades is enabled on the both sides, but viewing the progress with the learning plan, the personal learning objectives or setting the priorities and the due dates for courses, is also something that is missing on Moodle, but Totara is not missing it of having it.

Program Management

  •  Everything that is included in the program management, the grouping or sequencing the sets of the courses, creating the recurring courses and an automatic enrollment in the courses is not available in Moodle, but can be found in Totara.


  • Related with the reporting, there are some features such as flexible report builder that is available on both Moodle and Totara. But if you examine the abilities of building custom reports, or scheduled report management, creating export of different formats or report for learners and managers, Totara is doing its job very well, while Moodle doesn’t have those features enabled, so Totara is also more powerful in this regard.


  • If we see the features related with the Calendar and the Content management, both sides are on the same level, because the features of time-based events, integrating Outlooks, calendar of face to face training is enabled on the both sides. Also, having user profiles, the ability of the users to read blogs, wikis or forums, to resource links, documents and files, or to do SCORM compliant is enabled in Moodle and Totara.

User Management and Course Enrollment

  • With regard to user management, there are three features that are enabled on the both sides, but  two are not available on Moodle. Those that are enabled are user profiles, profile field customization and bulk processes. Those that are not available on Moodle, but are found in Totara are synchronized position and organization hierarchies and manager relationships with external HR systems and manually assign users to an organisational role and team. With regard to course enrollment, the differences between those two are that the both sides can assign users to courses and enrollment requests, but Moodle cannot assign users to courses and programs of learning, or users to courses and do audience management with dynamic cohorts.


Those were some of the main differences between Moodle and Totara, but there are a few more that Moodle doesn’t have the power to enable, while Totara does.  As we can see, if we can make a vague assumption, Totara is much better than Moodle because there are more features that are available than with Moodle. Totara enabled lots of features and it has more advantages than Moodle, and that makes it more reliable for using. But that doesn’t mean that Moodle is not good because it has also some advantages for good use.  When we analyze Moodle VS Totara, Totara can be better solution and it is guaranteed that they won’t regret of using it this platform for business.

Nicole Lewis is the Lead Author & Editor of MyLMStips. MyLMStips is dedicated to providing the most engaging topics, information, tips and tricks surrounding Moodle®. It's a place where Moodle® users can receive guidance on how to get the most out of it and increase their productivity and progress.