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A Learning Management System for the Future: Wahoo Learning’s Bespoke Take on Totara Learn

Wahoo Learning have been providing classroom training and e-learning services to the communications infrastructure community since 1997. They provide training for market leaders in the industry, delivering tens of thousands of courses annually and globally.

Wahoo Learning is currently supplying training to 50,000 users worldwide, in 100 countries and in 16 languages.

Their unique offering is an e-learning training platform and a service model designed specifically to deliver copper, fibre and wireless solution, product, and technical training globally.

The Brief

Wahoo Learning came to Totara Partner BuildEmpire looking for a new way to sell and deliver their eLearning content. They already had a bespoke platform for this, but wanted to improve it and make sure they were using the best LMS technology available.

They were looking for a training solution platform which would enable them to do the following:

  • Offer a client-brandable platform for top tier clients to access and use as their own
  • Offer a Wahoo Learning branded platform for other companies to buy access for their staff training needs
  • Offer the purchase and completion of eLearning courses by individuals
  • Enhanced functionality of the current platform, e.g. reporting and learner engagement
The Challenges
  • Building a bespoke administrator hierarchy on top of the Totara platform, which controls access and permission levels, globally.
  • Creating a bespoke voucher plugin for administrators to be able to create voucher codes for different clients.
Our Solution

Learning Management System (LMS): Totara Learn

As well as using the best LMS technology available, Wahoo Learning wanted to make sure their platform could be upgraded and developed in the future without being tied to one company or developer. Totara Learn was a natural solution here, not only does Totara provide a base for a customisable LMS platform, but any Totara Partner in the future would be able to continue updating and developing the platform.

From an administrator point of view, the most attractive features of Totara Learn were the reporting and organisation management features. This functionality had always been quite cumbersome in their existing platform. With Totara Learn as a good foundation for these tools, BuildEmpire’s team developed this even further.

“Our team of developers built a complex hierarchy system into the Totara platform which determines the permissions of each user.” – BuildEmpire

This hierarchy goes from ‘learners’ who only have access to their own learning material, and builds up to a ‘global manager’ which can be granted to a Learning and Development Manager (for example) so they can purchase and distribute courses to their teams, on a global scale, as well as monitoring their learners’ activity.

Being able to allocate course ‘seats’ to staff members around the globe was very important for some of Wahoo Learning’s customers, so they could manage the training of their staff easily. Within this hierarchy, there is scope for any organisation to be accommodated, no matter the size and structure.


Learner Engagement and Gamification

Totara Learn has lots of gamification features which help engage learners using the platform, such as the ability to earn certificates. On top of this, BuildEmpire also developed ‘badges’, the criteria for which can be determined by the administrators and then these badges can be earned by the learners.



As well as generating an online PDF, a digital qualification badge is also automatically awarded to the learner, which they can show to others in the industry on their mobiles, etc.

Monitoring student engagement levels is also very important for Wahoo Learning and their customers, so we developed custom reporting which allows Wahoo Learning and their clients to run a wide range of reports in order to monitor learner activity and progress.

Bespoke Catalogue Plugin

Wahoo Learning’s portfolio of courses was also a custom Totara plugin built by BuildEmpire. This gave staff at Wahoo Learning the ability to go into Totara and add new courses to the LMS, and also add a summary of these courses to their catalog to showcase their courses to potential customers.



Learning and development managers, or students, can go into this catalog to browse the courses before they purchase them, then once they have picked a course they can access it there within the same platform and either allocate it to a team member or complete it themselves.

Managers are able to purchase a ‘seat’ and allocate it to a team member.

eCommerce Platform

In order to give users a good customer experience when using the Wahoo Learning platform, it is important that users can access Wahoo Learning’s portfolio of courses, purchase them online, then access their learning through this same login. This meant that we had to integrate the bespoke catalogue plugin with Wahoo Learning’s payment system, so make an eCommerce platform which was fully integrated with their LMS. This means that the user flow is seamless and payments are managed automatically, without Wahoo Learning staff having to manage them.

Wahoo Learning administrators can still log in and manage payments and accounts if they need to, (as well as customer permission levels and course material) but the daily running of the site happens automatically.

Another bespoke feature we built for Wahoo Learning was discount codes. Wahoo Learning staff are able to go into the platform as an administrator and generate/manage discount codes which will automatically work when applied by a customer.



Wahoo Learning staff also needed the ability to generate codes which would work in different ways for different customers, so they could look after their customers on an individual basis.

This was particularly complex to build, but in the end, it gave Wahoo Learning the flexibility they needed for their customers.

Content Management System (CMS)

As well as having an online catalog of courses, Wahoo Learning needed the freedom to add other pages to their website, e.g. a homepage, and manage the website menu options too. For this, we built a bespoke plugin for Totara so that administrators at Wahoo Learning only had to log into one place (Totara) and they could begin creating additional website pages as you would in a CMS.

“This means that, going forward, the website can be easily kept up to date and SEO improved without having to outsource this to a development team.”


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