What is an audience?
  • 27 Nov 2023
  • 4 minutes to read

What is an audience?

Article summary

Audience management allows site-wide user groups to be populated manually or dynamically using unlimited combinations of rules built on supplied HR data, user completion records, and other collected user metrics.

Totara's audience functionality allows administrators to quickly or automatically assign members to:

  • Enrolment in any number of courses, programs and/or certifications (Totara Learn)
  • Visibility of any number of courses, programs and/or certifications (Totara Learn)
  • Access to any number of learning plan templates or pre-populated learning plans (Totara Learn)
  • Company goals (Totara Perform)
  • System-level access rights

Audiences are especially powerful when used alongside HR import. With both features enabled and configured, a range of user administration and enrolment actions can be automatically processed based on your regular HR feed and the extensive range of business rules you define.

There are two types of audiences:

  • Set: A set audience allows you to manually select and add any user to the group
  • Dynamic: A dynamic audience is automatically created and maintained based on a set of rules you create

Set audiences

Due to the simple but manual process required to add and remove audience members, set audiences are typically used where the number of individuals within the group is limited, with infrequent updates to the members of the audience. Examples might include a set audience for members of a specific project team.

Managing set audience members

To assign members to the audience group, search or browse the list of Potential users in the right-hand column, select the user(s) you require and select Add. The user(s) now appear in the Current users column.

To remove members from the audience group, search or browse the list of Current users in the left-hand column, select the user(s) you require and select Remove. The user(s) now appear in the Potential users column.

Select Back to audiences to return to the audience management page.

Removing users from an audience may result in the unenrolment of users from multiple courses. This will include the deletion of user settings, grades, group membership, and other user information from affected courses.

Dynamic audiences

Dynamic audiences are typically used where there will be a large number of audience members, or frequent updates to memberships. Dynamic audiences can also be useful where there are a large number of users within the site, where searching and adding users manually to a set audience is particularly time-consuming. Examples might include a dynamic audience for all staff managers within your Totara site, all users with a particular department of your organisation, or individuals who are certified first-aid practitioners.

Creating learning plans for audiences (Totara Learn)

If you are using Totara Learn, the learning plan functionality within audiences provides audience members access to learning plan templates, and the ability for administrators to automatically create learning plans for each audience member.

Once a learning plan template has been selected, an administrator can specify whether the template should be used to create a draft or pre-approved learning plan. It is also possible to prevent new plans from being created if the user already has a learning plan based on the selected template. 

By linking competencies to positions and organisations and creating a learning plan template that is set to automatically assign competencies (and their linked courses), an administrator can leverage the audiences functionality to automate the creation and population of learning plans for all learners.

Removing users and role assignments

When removing users from audiences, any roles assigned via the audience will be removed. This will not remove system-level assigned roles (via Assign system roles). Similarly, removing a role at the system level (via Assign system roles) will not remove that role where it is assigned in audiences. If a user is assigned to a system-level role via an audience they will appear greyed out in the Existing users column, and cannot be removed from the role without removing them from the audience.

When removing roles from audiences (not necessarily removing members from the audience), the roles are removed. As above, though, assigned system-level roles won't be removed.

Audience global settings

Audience global settings allow you to set the site-wide alert and dynamic audience membership options used for audiences.

Alert options

The audience alert settings allow a user with the appropriate permissions to specify the alert options that are available to users on the Audience edit page. This setting affects all Audience edit pages. When multiple options are selected, the user can choose their preferred options from the alert dropdown menu.

Choose from:

  • Do not send alerts.
  • Send alerts to affected members only.
  • Send alerts to all members.

Apply dynamic audience membership changes in the background

Dynamic audience membership needs to be updated after audience rule changes are approved, which can take some time to complete. When enabled, updates will be scheduled to occur as a background task. If disabled, updates will occur immediately, which will require the user who is approving the changes to wait for the update to complete.

Case study: Totara Community

Watch this video to see how the Totara Community uses audiences to deliver an extended enterprise solution, with different experiences for different groups of users. 

Next steps

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using audiences in Totara. Here you can learn more on how to use audiences, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

© Copyright 2024 Totara Learning Solutions. All rights reserved.

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