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Sky supports blended strategy with open Totara Learn

Sky is Europe’s leading entertainment company, serving 21 million customers worldwide. Sky aims to deliver a broad range of content and uses innovative new technology to give customers a better TV experience, whenever and wherever they choose.

As a company, it turns over £7.6bn and employs 25,000 people in the UK and Ireland.

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The Challenge

Sky is a powerful brand. It delivers high-end production values across a wide range of broadcasts, as well as services including broadband and telephony. A key focus is innovating the delivery of its content. Applications like Sky Go enable customers to watch Sky content wherever they are, on a variety of mobile devices.

However, the internal reality of content and systems was somewhat removed from Sky’s external output. From broadcasters to call centres, retail staff and over 3,000 engineers in the field, a huge proportion of Sky’s staff are not office or PC based and therefore were previously unable to access the LMS regularly.  

Equally, until 2013, face-to-face training had dominated the learning agenda and Sky’s internal supporting platform had been built in-house and customised over a number of years. But after all these modifications, it wasn’t meeting the needs of the learners or the business. Clearly, it was time for a change.

“The LMS was supporting around 6,000 visits from learners a week, but was constantly being patched up and we were chasing our tails just to keep it going and hold it up. We ended up running out of ways to fix it!”

James Perez, Learning Technology Manager

Working with tight budgets, Sky needed an on-brand LMS that focused on:

  • Ease of use: it had to be simple
  • Increased efficiencies and automation: for both admins and learners
  • Mobile access and support for a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy: providing  staff with a responsive experience wherever they are, whatever technology they use, regardless of their role
  • Flexibility to customise as required, meeting new challenges

With learners accessing the LMS 24/7 and a need to integrate with Sky’s existing services, a flexible solution was needed.

The Solution 

Mind Click's* implementation of a Totara LMS (version 2.6) was selected ahead of the competition thanks to the flexibility and affordability of the Totara platform, as well as their creative approach. Together with Sky, Mind Click helped to deliver a slick, fully-branded LMS which emulated the look and feel of a website, rather than a traditional LMS.

‘Sky Development’ was born: a responsive platform designed to provide a high-quality user experience, which upheld the external Sky brand internally.

Open for business

A clean, simple taxonomy means learners now navigate through a simple structure where they always know what to expect. It also provides learners with opportunities to access a range of content and resources, supporting Sky staff with varied, engaging training.


“We knew we wanted to move to a 70:20:10 approach and away from the old ‘I need a classroom course’ mantra. By providing easy access to a growing library of resources, learners are able to focus on finding what they need to get their job done, as well as ongoing development, while they are actually on the job.”

James Perez, Learning Technology Manager, Sky

New content, fresh approach

The People Development team knew the new LMS architecture would only make a positive impact if it was populated with great content. Totara 2.6 enables a wide variety of content types to be deployed:

  • Web resources and toolkits
  • Webinars
  • SCORM e-learning courses
  • Blended/multi-format programmes
  • Videos
  • Apps
  • Seminars
  • Book summaries from Get Abstract 
  • Documents

There has been a conscious evolution by Sky to encompass these new types of content; embracing technology where it makes sense. The ‘resources not courses’, open LMS approach that Sky has adopted means that most of the content is available to every learner, maximising the 70:20:10 approach and encouraging just-in-time access via mobile devices.


Everyone at Sky has control of their learning plan and career development. Managers and learners have the freedom to build learning plans based around individual needs, personal development goals and career aspirations. 

Sky Development launched in October 2014, and learners are already engaging with it heavily. Now, over 25,000 learners can access their hosted content and LMS on the go, on their iPads, in a variety of locations. Sky’s LMS is now much more stable and robust and provides learners with content that is easier to access and of a higher quality.

sky totara lms

There’s been a noticeable impact at Sky, with some great results. One learner commented: 

“The new site looks fantastic; I really like the way I have an overview of the development of my team members. It’s so easy to use. Keep these great improvements coming. Great work!” 

James Perez, Learning Technology Manager, Sky

There have also been time savings on training administration of at least 8.75 hours every day; time which is now available for more productive activities. 

What's next?

The People Development team are continually looking to improve the LMS and are already exploring new options to further enhance it. Future plans include:

  • Rounding out the site so that it’s more than just a training portal, including performance development and careers links  
  • Enhancing the user experience by really simplifying navigation 
  • Exploring Open Badges and social learning to create more rewarding learning experiences, which can help keep staff engaged
  • Adoption of an offline player, ensuring all learner activity is captured, whether learners are online or not 
  • Improved course layouts, with additional content to provide learners with more complete and unique learning experiences.

“It sounds counter-intuitive to say this, but the less people even realise they’re using an LMS, the better we’ve done our job. The end goal is for them to find what they want at the point of need, in a system that has the right level of experience for a Sky product. And with Mind Click’s support we’re on track to deliver that.

James Perez, Learning Technology Manager
sky development Totara LMS

*Mind Click has since been acquired by Learning Pool.