Using centralised notifications
  • 22 Jul 2022
  • 5 Minutes to read

Using centralised notifications

Site-wide notifications

If notifications are enabled on your site you can then go to Quick-access menu > Notifications to configure your notifications.

Here you can expand the relevant section to see a list of all notification triggers. Click a notification trigger to see the notifications related to that event. Note that each notifiable event can have multiple notifications assigned to it. For example, the Learner assigned in certification event has two notifications - one that goes to the user, and one that goes to the user's manager. You can disable notifications individually using the toggle buttons, or you can disable the whole trigger. However, note that if you disable the trigger on the system level, it won't ever be shown in lower contexts.

When configuring notifications at the site level you are deciding which notifications users can receive, and not necessarily the notifications they will receive (this can be achieved using forced delivery). It is recommended that you do not disable notification triggers at the site level. Instead, notifications and triggers should be disabled at lower contexts when they are not appropriate or relevant for that context.

For example, one instance where you may want to disable a notification trigger is when it is irrelevant to a category or type of program/certification, so that when new notifications are added to that trigger at the system level they will not suddenly appear for these programs/certifications.

The site-wide centralised notifications page.

Notification page

By going to Quick-access menu > Notifications you can see the following information for each notifiable event and its related notifications.

When configuring the notifications here, you are configuring them at the site level. It's important to note that notification content and settings can be edited at lower levels. Updates to fields and settings in a site-level notification will be reflected in the lower-level notifications unless those fields have been changed at the lower level. Unchanged fields at the lower level will automatically inherit changes made at the site level.
While configuring notifications at the site level you can also configure the delivery preferences for each notification type. You can also create new notifications for each notifiable event listed below.
Notifiable events

Notification triggers

The notifiable event that triggers the notification being sent.

Delivery channels

Indicates how the notification will be sent. The available delivery channels are:

  • Site notifications
  • Mobile app notifications
  • Tasks
  • Alerts
  • Email
  • Microsoft Teams


NotificationThe name of the notification. 

There are three types of notification:

  • Factory: Shows that the notification is a built-in system-level notification. Built-in notifications cannot be deleted.
  • Custom: Indicates that the notification has been created at the given context level and can only be deleted in this context.
  • Inherited: Indicates that the notification is inherited from a built-in or custom notification from a higher context level. These notifications can only be disabled in this context. Additionally, they can only be deleted if they inherit from a custom notification, and only in the original context where that custom notification was created.


The user(s) who will receive the notification.


When the notification will be sent relative to the trigger event.

This can be either when the trigger occurs or a number of days after the event. In some cases, it is possible to send the notification before the trigger event (e.g. several days before a certification is due to be renewed).


Indicates whether the notification is enabled or disabled.

Default notifications

Workspace notification

A notification can be configured to be sent when the following event/trigger relating to a workspace occurs:

  • User added to a workspace

LinkedIn Learning notifications

A notification can be configured to be sent when the following events/triggers relating to LinkedIn Learning occur:

  • Failed to import all courses
  • Failed to import several courses

Course activity notification

A notification can be configured to be sent when the following event/trigger relating to course activities occurs:

  • Learner completed activity

Course notifications

Notifications can be configured to be sent when the following events/triggers relating to courses occur:

  • Learner completed course
  • Course due date
  • Learner enrolled in course
  • Learner unenrolled from course

Seminar notifications

Notifications can be configured to be sent when the following events/triggers relating to seminars occur:

  • Booking cancelled
  • Booking confirmed
  • Booking details changed
  • Booking cancelled due to event being cancelled
  • Booking end date
  • Booking start date
  • Booking request created
  • Booking request declined
  • Booking request expired
  • Registration closed
  • Event cancelled
  • Reservations cancelled
  • Reservations expired
  • Event under minimum bookings
  • Facilitator assigned
  • Facilitator event cancelled
  • Facilitator sessions cancelled
  • Facilitator sessions details changed
  • Facilitator unassigned
  • Waitlisted signup expired
  • Wait-list signup created
  • Trainer assigned
  • Trainer sessions details changed
  • Trainer unassigned
  • Virtual meeting creation failed

Program notifications

Notifications can be configured to be sent when the following events/triggers relating to programs occur:

  • Learner assigned in program
  • Program completed
  • Program course set completed
  • Course set due date
  • Program due date
  • New exception reported
  • Learner unassigned from program

Certification notifications

Notifications can be configured to be sent when the following events/triggers relating to certifications occur:

  • Learner assigned in certification
  • Certification completed
  • Course set completed
  • Course set due date
  • Certification due date
  • Certification expiry date
  • Failure to recertify
  • New exception reported
  • Learner unassigned from certification
  • Recertification window open date

Program and certification messages tab

Prior to Totara 14, program and certification messages were managed from the Messages tab (when editing a program/certification) rather than the Notifications tab. On a new Totara 16 site the Messages tab will not be available. If you are upgrading from a previous version of Totara (i.e. Totara 13 and earlier), any messages defined within existing programs/certifications will be converted to notifications (as long as they are defined by one of the built-in Notification triggers).

If required, you can configure this interface to show the Messages tab alongside the new Notifications tab. The Messages tab will appear if either of these conditions are met:

  • The messages tab is defined within config.php: $CFG->show_program_message_tab
  • A custom message type was created in a previous version of Totara. In this case the custom message will be displayed in the Messages tab. A Site Administrator should manually recreate this message in the Notifications tab, potentially requiring additional development work if the message cannot be reproduced using existing notification types.

Suspended users

Suspended users will not receive notifications. When a suspended user is reinstated they will not receive any notifications triggered during their suspension. This ensures that suspended users do not receive a high volume of messages when their suspension is lifted.

Use of text editors

The Weka editor is the default text editor when creating or editing a notification, unless it is disabled on your site. If the Weka editor is disabled you can instead select either the Plain text format, HTML format or Markdown format from the dropdown menu above the text editor. 

If you wish to format your message then you will only be able to use HTML formatting, as JSON (which is used by the Weka editor) is not recognised by many email clients such as Gmail and Outlook. In a future version of Totara we are planning to resolve this issue, but currently it is only possible to format with HTML. 

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