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Totara Learn unlocks learning and innovation at Helvar

Helvar is a family-owned international lighting technology company, specialising in energy-efficient components and lighting solutions. For over 90 years, the Finnish organisation has been innovating and transforming the technology behind lighting systems across the world. Product knowledge and technical capability is the heartbeat of Helvar as an industry leader. The UK-based training team has the remit internally to facilitate this for international offices from Europe to China.

The Challenge

Helvar specialises in highly technical, energy efficient lighting solutions. Product knowledge and technical capability is at the heart of the organisation. However, most that training knowledge was sitting in silos, on obscure network drives and even in people’s heads.

This presented an interesting challenge for the training team. The organisation trialled SharePoint as a solution to encourage better knowledge distribution, but Helvar concluded that a more integrated approach was required.

Finding the time for training around busy work schedules is always a difficult challenge. In order to encourage learners to spend time on training Helvar wanted to roll-out and support a new learning culture: one which empowered employees and encouraged them to share with their peers.

Their vision was to create an environment where employees could exchange expertise and self-teach using a repository of content, e-learning and resources. However, the organisation needed a powerful platform in place that allowed them to undertake an open learning approach as well as hosting various resources that had been collated over the past 50 years at Helvar.

"We have real experts, even geniuses, creating our solutions. But what we do is fairly niche, so our Board realised that focusing on training would raise the technical knowledge of all our staff. And as part of that, finding a way to better share product knowledge would also benefit us all.

Mark Allen, Training Manager, Helvar

The Solution

Helvar considered a variety of different solutions, the first of which involved implementing and running Moodle for over 8 months. However, the organisation soon realised they needed more powerful functionality in terms of reporting and control.

As a company that embraces an open, non-proprietary approach, they wanted to explore another open-source LMS and Totara Learn was an obvious choice. The platform met their initial requirements being able to support e-learning and host resources as well as provide a flexible and open base for information sharing and self-sufficient training, which is now a business-critical priority.

The decision was made to migrate from Moodle to Totara Learn, and Helvar teamed up with Totara Partner Learning Pool due to our expertise in the field, along with our friendly and flexible approach. Their list of LMS requirements included:

  • In-depth, customisable and graphical reporting
  • Support for different content types, particularly webinars, e-learning and live online learning
  • Integration with Helvar’s HR system
  • Flexibility in functionality particularly in terms of reporting and control of groups of learners
  • Fully branded front-end with different user interfaces for different user types

Learning Pool created ‘Helvar eCademy’- a fully customised implementation of Totara LMS. We worked closely with the organisation to ensure the LMS had simple navigation, an engaging user interface and the vital functionality they required. Learning Pool built different user interfaces for both employees and commercial partners, allowing them to push the relevant content to different users and control the access to different resources.

Mark comments on the ongoing support and guidance they’ve received from Learning Pool:

“The technical support is quick and thorough. We’re looking forward to working with our Learning Consultant to move on from technical familiarity with system admin, to get the most out of Totara, in terms of making available outstanding learning materials and monitoring their use.”


With the help of Totara's LMS, Helvar is transforming their learning culture, which has allowed knowledge sharing and open access to learning content become the foundation of day-to-day training. The platform has added much needed structure and organisation to their training delivery, saving time spent looking for resources with everything now easily searchable and located in one single repository. Mark comments:

"eCademy is a great way to access so much information, especially the webinars. We can now access so much information at different stages of a product launch and sharing insights this way has become part of our workflow. It’s so embedded in what we do now that it’s not a chore to access it, more just something we do every day."

Adoption rates have been so strong that new company processes have been created to ensure that training and briefing information is developed and shared via Totara for every single product release. And the specialist knowledge from the experts is accessible to everyone in the organisation.

Adoption rates have been so strong that new company processes have been created to ensure training and briefing information is developed and shared via the LMS prior to every product release. This information and specialist knowledge is then made accessible for everyone in the organisation, regardless of role. The platform is also used on the road, with employees benefitting from simple online access to content before meetings as quick and easy refresher training.

One learner commented:

“eCademy is a great way to access so much information. We can now find content at different stages of a product launch. Sharing insights this way has become a key part of our workflow. It’s so embedded in what we do now that it’s not a chore to access it, more just something we do every day.”

Helvar now has ambitious plans to open eCademy to its distributors, partners and clients that could all benefit from additional training and product knowledge on their specialist products.