Getting Started With Multitenancy: What Is It And Can You Do With It?

Getting Started With Multitenancy: What Is It And Can You Do With It?
Summary: Addressing questions and defining features related to multitenancy in learning management.

What You Need To Know About Multitenancy

Multitenancy is when different groups or organizations use the same infrastructure, applications, or databases. In other words, when an organization with different groups, each with their own courses, materials, and needs, uses one central Learning Management System.

eBook Release: Multitenancy With Totara And Moodle
eBook Release
Multitenancy With Totara And Moodle
Learn about multitenancy, which allows different groups or organizations to use the same infrastructure, applications, or databases in a central Learning Management System.

As an example, if you are an organization with five divisions or operating entities (these are what we would refer to as tenants in the LMS), you and each of your customers would use the same LMS, but would need to be separated within the system. The alternative to multitenancy is to have a separate Moodle or Totara system or installation for each group. This requires a lot of management, and can sometimes be quite a hassle.

With multitenancy in Moodle and Totara, each individual tenant is centrally managed, meaning that all tenants are managed from one central site (also referred to as the master site) by a central administrator. An LMS can host a number of client organizations within one single instance of Moodle or Totara.

This architecture allows the training organization to manage all activity on the site, across all tenants, including reporting and setting up client organizations. Individuals within tenants can be assigned to their company in the system so that when they log in using their authorization, they have access to all learning materials and courses they have been enrolled in. Each tenant can only view the courses they have been enrolled in, based on which organization they are a part of.

When Is Multitenancy Required?

It is likely that you will need multitenancy if you have multiple clients on Moodle or Totara, who have content that they do not want any of your other tenants to have access to. With multitenancy, users should not be aware that there are any other tenants on their LMS. The central administrator decides who local administrators (that is, the administrators for each tenant) will be, and therefore, will have control over who has access to the system.

Multitenancy With Totara And Moodle

Multitenancy With Totara

Totara supports multitenancy in the following ways:

There are management hierarchies within Totara that enable managers to assess and supervise learning. Management roles can be assigned, and there are development plans that are specific to each tenant organization available. Both of these options allow administrators to manage their own staff performance and progress.

With Totara, users can be sorted by a variety of specifications, such as organization, position, or country. Courses/programs can be set to specific tenants, with the possibility of scheduled reports that are automatically administered across the site.

Additionally, Totara already has the following features that support multitenancy: Organization and position framework, audiences, audience visibility, audience dashboard, and roles assigned to different categories and courses.5

Multitenancy With Moodle

Moodle does not fully support multitenancy as well as Totara, but it does have a few capabilities. Moodle has a pseudo-multitenancy capability which combines Frontpage settings with the use of Course Categories.

This can be done by configuring the “Front page items when logged in” setting to Enrolled Courses. With regard to branding courses to specific departments or business units, the Course Categories can be named after the department, and Subcategories can be labeled as Course Topics. Each Category and Subcategory can then be themed separately from the Corporate/Organizational theme.

Roles and capabilities can be assigned to specific categories to allow access to edit courses. Additionally, this can be done by inheritance to the Subcategories and courses.

What Can You Do With Multitenancy, And How Can It Address Your Organization's Issues?

One common request that organizations have is privacy. They do not want their tenants to be able to see each other within the Totara site, or even for their tenants to know that there is anyone else on the same LMS. With multitenancy in Totara, you can create individual organization framework for each tenant, as well as different themes and home pages for specific users organizations, in order to segment your tenants and create an individual experience. You can also create separate courses, categories, subcategories, and tenants within the Totara site, with individual themes for each one.

For organizations who have a large number of tenants with many users and courses, you can create categories, and subcategories with their own administrators within each category. This breaks up the tenants and users into smaller, more manageable units. You can also allow all tenants to manage their own users and courses, put tags and levels into place to distinguish and identity courses and areas, have unique themes for each tenant, and have options for global themes for smaller tenants.

For global organizations with different offices across different locations in different countries, you can enable increased customization, as well as allow the creation of new roles within the organization to fill the need to manage users and courses.

If you want to learn more about multitenancy, download the Book Multitenancy With Totara And Moodle.