Testimonial: Totara implementation at Provincie Antwerpen

To support all employees of Provincie Antwerpen in their professional development and growth, the department of Talent and Organisational Development was looking for a modern learning solution.

In the overarching project ‘HR-digital’, in which HR applications are being updated, the payroll engine and personnel database have already been given a new look. The implementation of a digital learning platform was therefore fully in line with this path of innovation.

In the past, learning software was already used to manage and enrol participants, but it turned out not to be very user-friendly and did not have a module for knowledge sharing, social learning or the possibility to import e-learning. As the licenses for this tool expired at the end of 2020, there was now a real window of opportunity to invest in a future-oriented solution where user-friendliness and efficiency are a priority.

At the end of the tender procedure, Totara LMS was chosen as the optimal solution because it met the expectations of Provincie Antwerpen. The Learning Hub was given the responsibility to guide the implementation of the new digital learning platform.

What was required from The Learning Hub?

Based on the agile methodology, the project was divided into several sprints to configure the learning platform. This started with a kick-off workshop, after which the final schedule could be drawn up. The project team of Provincie Antwerpen gained a lot of knowledge about Totara because they took the available Totara Academy courses. With this knowledge and the additional guidance from our learning consultants during the sprint demos, they became proficient owners of the platform in a really short time.

To enhance user-friendliness, a Single Sign-On (SSO) was set up. This authentication method makes sure that training and development is available in only a few clicks. Usernames and passwords are securely validated against the internal active directory service. It further allows all employees with a valid organisational account to access Totara with their familiar organisation credentials.

Subsequently, an integration with the personnel database was set up. This transfers personal data such as name, e-mail address, position, department and manager on a daily basis to the LMS, resulting in a platform that is always up-to-date and less time consuming to manage.

Additionally, it was important to integrate the new platform within the existing corporate identity to improve recognisability. The theme and branding were completely configured, the automatic mails were personalised and the terminology of the platform was adapted in the language files. For example, the Totara LMS terminology normally speaks about ‘courses’, but within Provincie Antwerpen ‘training’ is the commonly used term.

We also added a personal welcome message to the homepage. This makes the entire user experience more personal. The new learner platform was internally named ‘LEO’ and was launched at the beginning of 2021. In this way, the entire organisation was immediately able to start the new year well, the first reactions are therefore only positive.

One of the most important requirements was managing classroom training (ILT) and webinars (VILT). In addition to following up on registrations and registering attendance, the option to declare interest was also added. This allows administrators to draw up their training offer in a finely meshed manner, based on the employees’ interest. Finally, the standard notifications were also adjusted so employees would receive the link to the webinar location straight away in their mailbox when they enrolled for a webinar course.  

We renamed our LMS to LEO, which stands for ‘Leren en Ontwikkelen’ (Learning and Development in Dutch), because learning results in so much more…”

Ans Van Loo

Advisor Talent and Organisational Development, Provincie Antwerpen