• Learn Direct
  • Business Solutions

Learn Direct | LMS

Learndirect was founded in 2000 and is the UK’s largest provider of skills, training, and employment services transforming the lives of 4.5 million people in the UK to date.


In April 2017, the Government National Apprenticeship Reforms imposed an apprenticeship levy of 0.5% on wage bills in excess of £3 million. As a consequence the training sector is undergoing major structural changes for all training suppliers, not least learndirect as one of the largest such suppliers in the UK.

learndirect viewed these changes as an opportunity for internal change within the company including reviewing and upgrading their online delivery systems with a new LMS.

Problems to address

Outdated LMS

Even prior to the National Apprenticeship Reforms, the LMS learndirect were using was:

  • an inflexible and heavily customised system
  • not scalable
  • cumbersome and over-complicated for future requirements

Tight deadline

A new LMS would have to be implemented in a tight deadline due to upcoming contractual renewal/expiry dates with existing suppliers. The sector and company structural changes added further complications as the project had to stay on track within a rapidly changing environment.


learndirect were aware that they could only provide limited staffing resource which could impact the need to maintain continuity of provision for existing learners.

Webanywhere worked with learndirect to identify Totara Learn as a flexible LMS with the ability to scale up to cope with the apprenticeship demand.

The new and branded LMS provided a solid structure and framework for learndirect’s future online delivery. This included not only the LMS itself but also custom dashboards and reports to assist their staff.

Furthermore Webanywhere took on the development and configuration of the learning programmes within the new LMS to enable the migration of learners from learndirect’s old system. Webanywhere provided further assistance with the transfer of content from existing courses on the old LMS.

Key Deliverables

  • Totara 2.9 to deliver apprenticeship qualifications
  • Webex plugin
  • Branded theme
  • User sync via CSV
  • Enrolment via CSV
  • Manager/learner sync via CSV
  • Learner/cohort sync
  • Organisations set up
  • 2 Programmes set up (1 time led, 1 learner led) using learndirect content
  • Forums for social learning
  • Face to face for classroom bookings
  • Reports set up
  • Admin users only able to view data within their own organisation

Benefits of Totara 2.9 LMS

  • Individualised learning plans to manage staff development and ongoing performance
  • A hierarchical structure, allowing managers to review and monitor their team’s learning
  • Sophisticated themes to incorporate and reflect brand and culture
  • Advanced reporting features that allow for in depth MI
  • Total classroom management and learner self service portals
  • Role based competency structure that links with learning resources and courses

Key numbers

1 month cost of the previous service = 100% cost of this entire project

2 x new maths and english modules developed from scratch and on schedule for planned delivery dates.

Totara 2.9 chosen as a flexible and scalable LMS

3 months into the project – LMS solution delivered including customised elements and some content migration using minimal learndirect staff resources,

1,500 learners on 7 different learning programmes migrated from the old system to Totara 2.9, with no interruptions to their learning


I have regularly been astonished by the speed and apparent ease with which Webanywhere’s staff have been able to understand complex requirements and provide solutions to meet those requirements. I come away from meetings with them feeling pressures have been eased, and that we are being given workable practical solutions rather than barriers to progress.

Learning Design Team Lead