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VTNZ tailors content to multiple groups with audience-based visibility

Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ), is powered by DEKRA, the world leaders in safety in more than 50 countries. As the largest provider of vehicle safety assessments in New Zealand, VTNZ is all about making sure that you and your vehicle are safe on the road. 

The Challenge

VTNZ falls under the automotive business unit within the Southern Africa & Oceania Region of the DEKRA Global Framework. Being part of such a framework provided VTNZ with the opportunity of collaborating with other business units within the same region. This made it imperative that VTNZ’s LMS could handle multiple organisational frameworks in a way that is smooth and easy to understand. 

To meet the challenge of hosting multiple organisations within the same Totara Learn instance, they started looking into how some multi-tenancy extensions could help. They explored the potential of a particular multi-tenancy plugin offered up as a solution alongside several other options, and ultimately narrowed down their choice to three different solutions:

  1. Use the multi-tenancy plugin created by Kineo
  2. Use Totara’s native audience-based visibility
  3. Use separate instances of Totara Learn

The Solution

After careful evaluation and analysis, it became apparent that whilst the proposed multi-tenancy plugin might serve their initial needs, it might go beyond the VTNZ’s business requirements for this project. Multi-tenancy can mean very different outcomes for different organisations, so VTNZ took the time to dig deep into what this meant for them.

VTNZ Totara Learn screenshots

Taking a more agile approach to the implementation of this project, the team working together decided to revisit the key project outcomes they were looking to achieve:

  • Site-wide user-based themes
  • Multiple organisational landing pages and dashboards
  • User-based course content
  • Organisational reporting

Each of these outcomes were considered in turn and a proposed solution was presented to VTNZ, utilising mostly the native, comprehensive out-of-the-box configuration ability. Together with Kineo, they explored audience-based visibility and how it can be used to create a ‘multi-tenancy feel’ by having two themes running concurrently for different groups of users. 

In order to deliver themes based on specific user roles and identities, a free plugin was installed which allowed site administrators to deliver a particular theme based on a user’s custom profile field. The flexibility of Totara Learn made it simple to install the plugin, giving VTNZ the freedom to innovate without requiring extensive customisations. Kineo installed two versions of Kineo’s Self-Service Theme, which has an array of options for Kineo’s customers to own their theme through configuration settings. The themes were then mapped to their respective audiences, and were appropriately named so it would be easy for VTNZ admins to maintain:

  • VTNZ Self-Service Theme
  • DEKRA Self-Service Theme

Once tenant hierarchies (or organisational hierarchies) were added, Totara Learn’s audience functionality was used to group users based on their associated organisation. Dynamic audiences were created by specifying a series of rule sets for audience membership. Since there would only be two themes, it was best practice to catch all by using negative rules in one of the instances. This meant that there should be technically zero users who were not captured.

The rules were:

  • VTNZ Theme – RULESET: Profile field is VTNZ Self-Service Theme
  • DEKRA Theme – RULESET: Profile field is not VTNZ Theme

Through the use of audience-based visibility, they now have the freedom to use these audiences in various ways around the LMS to restrict visibility of elements like homepage dashboards, courses and reports. With the freedom to design and innovate, they are able to represent both organisations and their overall look and feel. 

The Results

VTNZ is very happy with its Totara Learn platform and their newfound freedom to choose, along with the fact that Kineo’s simple Totara Learn solution design works so effortlessly. With the use of audience-based visibility to support disparate organisations, members of each organisation are able to enjoy a branded and customised experience with little or no interactions with one another – giving them the freedom to learn. 

“Audience-based visibility has enabled VTNZ to create capacity for other business units within the DEKRA Global Framework.” – Technical Training Manager

With Totara Learn’s comprehensive range of available features and out-of-the-box functionality, VTNZ were able to cut their costs in half. With help from their Solution Architect from Kineo, VTNZ enjoyed the freedom to save, and they were able to use their remaining budget on other features to create better learning experiences.  

The key to the success of the VTNZ Totara Learn project was taking the time to look at what the organisation needed rather than jumping headfirst into a solution. This was crucial to ensure that the architecture was built to last and support VTNZ’s business and learning needs long into the future. Thanks to Kineo and Totara Learn, VTNZ now has the freedom to innovate and add new features, themes and even organisations further down the line.