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Introducing Catalyst's Totara LMS offline player

At Totara Learning, we have noticed a surge in the number of organisations looking for ways to access content offline. This may be a workaround for patchy or non-existent internet connections, or a way to make learning more mobile for learners who don't want to use their own data. That's why technology specialists and Totara Platinum Partners Catalyst decided to build an offline player to make Totara LMS available offline. In this post, we look at how Catalyst implemented their offline player to meet the requirements of a large global organisation.

Why an offline player?

Catalyst worked with a large, non-profit global organisation to develop a means for their staff to access content regardless of where they are located. As a global non-profit, learning often had to be accessed in remote locations with little or no bandwidth. This meant that Catalyst needed to find a way to deliver vital training and refresher courses at the point of need without requiring a stable internet connection, so that learners could access content in the field to perform effectively. Irrespective of connectivity, it is crucial that course completion is tracked to enable the organisation to report on the training activity. 

A lot of money had already been spent on existing Flash-based SCORMs, but all new courses would be developed in HTML5, making it essential that both formats played, as it would not be cost effective for the non-profit to redevelop the older content. 

How did it work?

The initial thought was to create an iOS/Android course player to meet the client’s needs. However, tablets are not always ideal for running SCORM courses, and much of the content was in Flash. Dan Marsden, the lead developer on the project, came up with the idea of an offline Totara LMS course player. This enables the field staff to download any of their current courses while they have a connection, and then complete the course in the field before uploading the results on their return.

The courses are backed up and ready for download without any student data in them on the Totara server.

The player is compatible with the following course features:

  • SCORM
  • Feedback
  • Certificate
  • Video
  • All static resources

Catalyst’s innovative use of Totara LMS ensured their client would be able to reach learners in the field who didn’t have a stable internet connection. The offline player met this relatively unusual need, and allowed the client to deliver learning content and information at the point of need and track results when they became available.

Where are we now?

The offline player is currently in pilot with Catalyst's client, but initial feedback has been very promising. Catalyst is currently looking for other organisations to get involved to help them generalise the code and make the offline player open source. If this is something you are interested in, or if you think you can help, contact us today and we will tell you more about the work Catalyst are doing in this area and how you can get involved.

Find the original post here on the Catalyst blog.

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Catalyst IT

Catalyst IT specialises in free and open source technologies and services, and is one of the founders of Totara Learning Solutions. Since 2010 our e-learning teams in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom have built up a local and international reputation for high volume, high-availability Totara hosting and support on dedicated, highly secure environments featuring state-of-the-art monitoring and performance. Our in-depth product know-how and extensive LMS project experience make Catalyst the ideal technology partner for implementing, hosting and maintaining complex Totara instances. When required we can develop additional functionality, branded theme designs and integrations with external systems. We understand that by working collaboratively with our clients we can maintain our global reputation for delivering quality tailored solutions and help you make the most of your Totara installation. 

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