Totara app for Microsoft Teams
  • 02 Aug 2023
  • 4 minutes to read

Totara app for Microsoft Teams

Article summary

With Totara Engage you can integrate your Totara site with Microsoft Teams (note that you will need a licence for MS Teams). The Microsoft Teams application can also include Totara Learn functionality if your subscription includes Totara Learn. The app includes tabs for Find learning, Current learning, Your library, and Totara notifications (including tasks and alerts). From within the application, users can interact with Totara Engage content, such as resources and playlists, and Totara Learn content, such as courses, programs/certifications and activities.

Note that you will need to create your own app, rather than using the Totara app. Please see the developer documentation for more information.

Integrating your Totara site with Microsoft Teams provides additional features, including the following:

  • A messaging extension which allows users to search the catalogue from the chat interface and send an item to other users in the conversation
  • Pinning Find learning items (e.g. courses or playlists) to a tab in a Teams Channel

In order to use the Find learning tab in Microsoft Teams you need to ensure that the Catalogue default view is set to Grid. You can do this by navigating to Quick-access menu > Configure features > Catalogue default view, then select Grid from the dropdown list.

Additionally, if you want to use Current learning functionality in the Microsoft Teams app you need to enable the Current learning block. You can do this by navigating to Quick-access menu > Plugins > Blocks > Manage blocks, then ensure that the eye icon in the Hide/show column is open for the block.

Messaging extension

The messaging extension feature allows users to find and share any content from Find learning into their chats. As with any other MS Teams messaging extension, the user can find the Totara messaging extension in the chat toolbar (A picture containing text

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A conversation in the MS Teams messaging extension.

You can also pin the messaging extension app to the side panel by right-clicking it and selecting Pin.

Microsoft Teams requires the catalogue images displayed in the messaging extension to be made publicly-accessible via direct URL. This means that in order to display item images in the messaging extension, the Allow public access to catalogue item pictures setting needs to be enabled via Quick-access menu > Security on your Totara siteIf you do not wish to enable this setting, the messaging extension will still be fully functional without the displayed images.

Totara Engage only

If you set up a Microsoft Teams integration with only a Totara Engage subscription, then the app will be limited to Engage functionality, such as the Library (creating, viewing and interacting with resources and playlists), the Find learning page and relevant Totara notifications. Messaging extensions and pinning items to a Teams channel are both available, but content will be limited to resources and playlists. If you do not wish to display the Current Learning tab, ensure that the Current Learning block is disabled prior to uploading the manifest file.

The Current Learning block can be disabled via Quick-access menu > Plugins > Blocks > Manage blocks under the Show/hide column.

The Totara Engage library in the MS Teams app.

Totara Learn

If you have Totara Learn installed then you can access learning resources in the Microsoft Teams app in two ways.

Firstly, the Find learning tab allows users to access the catalogue. Here users can browse, search and filter for courses, programs and certifications. Additionally, if you have Totara Engage installed then any resources will also appear in the catalogue. Each item in the catalogue is represented by a card showing the resource title and image, as well as the type of item (e.g. course or resource). Clicking each item will reveal more information, and then users can go to the selected item. 

The Find learning tab in MS Teams.

Alternatively, users can view any learning they are enrolled on in the Current learning tab. If the logged-in user isn't enrolled on any courses, programs or certifications then this tab will be empty. For Totara Engage-only subscribers, the Current learning tab can be disabled under Quick-access menu > Plugins > Blocks > Manage blocks under the Show/hide column. This will need to be hidden prior to downloading the manifest.

Totara Learn activities 

If your subscription also includes Totara Learn then users can access learning activities within the app. All Totara Learn activities are fully functional in the Microsoft Teams app, with a few exceptions. Due to the dynamic nature of the wiki and external tool activities, it is recommended that these activities are opened in the browser. This ensures that all functionality is available. An Open in browser button in the navigation panel allows users to open any page in a browser window at any time. For these activities a note will recommend that users open the activity in their browser.

SCORM activities can be accessed within Microsoft Teams. When editing the settings of a SCORM activity, the Display package setting (in the Appearance section) will affect how the activity displays in Microsoft Teams. The Current window setting will ensure that the SCORM activity opens within Microsoft Teams.

Note that the New window and New window (simple) options for the Display package setting may not be fully compatible with Microsoft Teams, and the user will therefore be prompted to open the activity in the browser.

External URLs

When using the URL activity you need to ensure that the activity uses either the New window or In pop-up setting. This ensures that external URLs are opened in a browser, as Teams applications do not support external URLs within the application itself. You can ensure that the New window option is enabled by navigating to Quick-access menu > Plugins > Activity modules > URL, then selecting New window for the Available display options setting, then Save changes.

If a URL is included using the text editor (such as in labels or topic summaries), you need to ensure that you select the Open in new window (target="_blank") setting.

Video and image URLs embedded within pages will be displayed in the same way in the Microsoft Teams app as they would on your Totara site.

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to integrating Totara Engage with MS Teams. Here you can learn more about how to set up your integration and start using Totara with MS Teams.

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