The Workshop activity in Totara

Do you use Workshops in Totara?  If not, why not?  It is a great way to encourage peer assessment, giving your learners a unique experience by letting them assess their fellow colleagues work.  It promotes critical thinking that will help them to assess their own work before submitting it to their instructor. Learning how to use Workshops may take a bit of time, but it is worth it in the end. Our suggestion would be to pilot the activity for fun or maybe with an beta group.

If you read about peer assessment you will be told it is a really good exercise and it gives your learners a different point of view.  On the whole learners will rise to the occasion and do this in a sensible and mature way.  It is also believed that if learners know that their peers will be seeing and assessing their work they will raise their game and the quality of the submission will be higher.  If you allow your learners to help set the criteria for assessment then they will have a better understanding of what is expected of them.  As the instructor you can set a series of questions which the learner assessors are asked and use as a guide when assessing learner’s work.  These should be along the same line as a mark scheme but simplified – using should phases and yes/no options. This will allow the learner to mark along the lines that the instructor has defined.

To start with for the learner it will feel like they are using the assignment activity.  They complete the task and submit/upload it to Totara, just like in an assignment activity.  Then your learners move into new territory.  They will be alerted to work submitted by others.  Until they have done this the workshop activity will not be marked as completed.  A good idea is to submit a sample piece of work and in a training session go through assessing the work together, answering any questions whilst your learners are assessing the example rather than actual learner’s work.

As the instructor you can assess your learner’s work and assessments and increase or decrease the mark awarded to learners if you feel that the marking was very strict or generous. You can weight marks if required, it can be as simple or as complex as you wish.

Five Stage Activity








The instructor sets up the workshop.  An example submission can be posted and define the assessment criteria




Work is submitted/uploaded by learners




Submissions can be manually or automatically assigned to learners for peer assessment




Totara calculates the grades, the instructor can review the grades and make any adjustments necessary




Grades are moved into the grade book, the learners can see their marks and comments


We hope that this encourages you to explore Workshop in Totara in the future.