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How SPAR built a personalized and responsive learning platform for more than 47K learners and 2 brands

SPAR Group is one of the largest commercial enterprises in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe. Its core business is food, depending on the subsidiaries there are other areas like sports, shopping malls or retail real estate.

The Challenge

With a learning management system that was outdated, SPAR Group approached LearnChamp with a vision. An idea of how their future digital learning platform should be. Luckily, this vision fits to what we understand as an amazing learning experience. A user-friendly, high-performance system, which is available on all end devices and reduces management workload.

The new system for SPAR Group is primarily intended to adapt to the needs of learners and their managers: a contemporary look, a user-friendly interface, the possibility of mobile use and the chance for managers to monitor the completed training of their team.

SEPP mobile Totara

So, where's the challenge?

Three different subsidiaries of the SPAR group needed a new home. SPAR, INTERSPAR and the IT division of the group should be placed under one platform and even more subsidiaries from different countries in the near future. What we really wanted to avoid was to disengage the learners of the respective subsidiaries. Therefore, it was important to give every subsidiary a separate look and feel within the system. The new Totara Learn system has no easy task. But SPAR and LearnChamp were ready to go.

The Solution

The solution started the day the SPAR Education Power Program (short name: “SEPP” with an owl as a mascot) & INTERSPAR Academy were born. LearnChamp developed a solution that exactly met the requirements of our project partner. The evaluation of existing processes took place in the first phase of the introduction of the new system.

learner course catalogue SEPP Totara

The use of the Totara instance for the planned two brands was linked to the separation of the target groups using the possibilities of Totara Learn’s multi-tenancy feature. A strict audience-based logic was implemented, in order to be able to access only the content relevant to them and comply to regulatory norms. The design themes of both brands are also to be adapted to the respective corporate design.

learner homepage SEPP totara

SSO was a requirement and very important to SPAR Group. We implemented SSO through SAML2 for a seamless, smooth and easy login process for every learner of each division.

The Heroes behind the curtain – the Administrators of the system can book trainers, resources and rooms directly in Totara in a simple and time-saving manner. This is a fast moving rock on which we’re living, so, in order to support the managers in their everyday life, we gave them a clear overview of the performance in the team through their dashboard. They have an overview of all deadlines for programs and the completions. They get notifications for course completions and many needed reports – everything a modern manager in the retail industry needs.

SEPP Manager Team Totara


A feature to choose a temporary staff manager for one’s employees has been implemented directly in Totara, giving full flexibility to choose who and for how long it will support one’s employees as a manager. We value feedback - so we gave learners the opportunity to rate their courses with the "course rating” feature, thus providing vital insights for the content creators.

SEPP Learner Course Totara

LearnChamp also developed a plug-in for "seminar and competence export", which is being used within SPAR Austria as support for HR and executives, delivering data to HR and finance systems, which is being used to further evaluate the employees. Useful data sets on the status of training courses and competencies are thus easily accessible.

learner courses SEPP Totara

The Result

SEPP had a huge impact on SPAR and their employees.

A centralized seminar management feature enabled us to reduce training management costs significantly and to automatically deliver the data to different systems for further analysis. Through multi-tenancy, the administrators have a clear view of their areas, providing transparency for the whole group and making the system expandable for further subsidiaries to join it.

End users and administrators profit from a full update concept, giving them the newest Totara Learn features, pre-tested and ready-to-use. That means in numbers – 44,700 users have access to more than 50 Live Programs and Certifications, 800 available courses with on/offline training and more than 180,000 completions, giving us valuable information and providing users with continuous professional development paths.

"SPAR has a long tradition of focusing on training and education. Totara was the missing link to optimize the preparation for the daily working routine and a successful career at SPAR. SPAR Education Power Program now gives all employees in Austria the opportunity to continue developing their capabilities and strengths in a modern straightforward way. A German saying goes: Trade is subject to constant change. – Totara supports the transformation to meet our always-changing demands in a perfect way. Totara’s strong community is the secret of success."

Michael Fally, Team Leader Online Training SPAR