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MATRIX vs Totara


This is a detailed comparison between MATRIX and Totara, taking into consideration the features, functionality, and cost of each platform.

MATRIX is a learning management system (LMS) for use by small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large corporations. MATRIX helps companies manage all training activities, such as creating and delivering training content, evaluating employee performance, training clients and partners, and selling online courses. MATRIX is a product of CYPHER LEARNING, a company that specializes in providing learning platforms for organizations around the world.

Totara is an open learning management system, that offers three different services: Totara Learn, Totara Social, and Totara Cloud, which is its cloud-based solution for companies.


User interface

The MATRIX interface has a modern, responsive design that looks sharp and automatically adjusts based on the type of device. It provides attractive tile-based dashboards for learners, instructors, and administrators, a graphical course catalog, as well as simple pop-out navigation. It provides rich content authoring as well as a visually attractive way to create and organize module material. MATRIX also has a unique “activity display” feature that indicates the level of activity within courses and groups using a pulsing indicator on their tiles together with real-time widgets that scroll through the latest activities.

Many features can be enabled and disabled to suit your company’s needs. MATRIX offers native mobile apps for iOS and Android. In addition, MATRIX offers branded mobile apps.

Totara Cloud has a more complicated interface that is not very graphical and relies heavily on text. There are no graphical dashboards for any type of user, no users catalog or resources catalog. Dashboards consist of blocks that show information such as the calendar or tasks, but users can only change their position or add new blocks. There is no option for making them more attractive by changing their color or adding an image, and it can get overwhelming to navigate especially at the beginning.

Navigation in Totara is not as intuitive as in MATRIX. For example, there is no left navigation bar. Instead, users have to rely on a dashboard block to configure navigation to different areas of the site.

The course layout is also not as attractive as MATRIX, as there is no option to organize content into modules, and learners basically see a page with different content and tasks.

Totara offers mobile apps through their Partner network, which means that to have an app or a branded app, users have to work with an external company.

learner dashboard

Ease of use

MATRIX is very intuitive and easy to use. In addition, it includes an online help center with videos, getting started guides, and searchable help content. MATRIX also has a rapid response support forum where staff members typically respond to questions within 15-30 minutes during business hours 24/5.

Totara Cloud offers online help desk support 24/5, a help guide and a community site for users.

help center


MATRIX provides the range of functionality you’d expect in a modern LMS, such as support for courses (instructor led, blended, self-paced, and micro learning), content authoring, integrated e-commerce functionality, graphical course catalog, beautiful module layouts, gamification, automation, learning paths, drip content, adaptive learning, compliance, ad-hoc reporting, a customizable portal, web conferencing, collaboration tools, mastery and learning outcomes, resources catalog, and more.

MATRIX integrates with a wide variety of systems, including Google Workspace, Google Drive, Calendars (iCal), PayPal, Stripe,, Salesforce, Zapier, xAPI, Microsoft 365, OneDrive, GoToMeeting, GoToTraining, Zoom, Webex, and more.

Totara started their LMS as a Moodle-based LMS for companies. Since Totara is an open sourced solution, Totara users will need to have extensive technical skills or work with a professional to customize their site. In addition, MATRIX provides more features at a better value than Totara.

Here is a list of some of the features included with MATRIX that are not supported by Totara:

User interface

  • Automatic translation of messages and forum posts
  • Graphical dashboards
  • Native mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Graphical resources catalog
  • Activity display


  • Micro learning
  • Gamification
  • Course templates
  • Path template
  • Drip content
  • Adaptive learning
  • Graphical badges gallery
  • Peer reviewed assessments
  • Offline mode

E-commerce and marketing tools

  • Affiliate marketing
  • SEO
  • Digital media
  • Course ratings and reviews
  • Bundles
  • Subscriptions
  • Flexible coupon codes
  • Bulk discounts


  • Integration with your own email server
  • Integration with 1,500+ apps via Zapier
  • Mailchimp
  • xAPI
  • Panopto
  • CometChat
  • QTI and CCF standards
  • H5P
  • MS Immersive Reader
  • MS OneNote
  • Udemy
  • LinkedIn Learning

Web conferencing tools

  • Google Meet
  • Kaltura
  • MS Teams

Payment gateways

  • Stripe
  • PayUbiz
  • PayU Latam
  • PagSeguro
  • Flywire


  • Monitor, teaching assistant, and super admin account types
  • Social media integration
  • Archiving learners
  • Learner help desk
  • Trash can
  • Resell under your own brand
  • Public blog
  • Public profiles
  • Custom terminology


MATRIX LMS plans are based on the number of active learners. There are no standard setup fees, cancellation fees, storage fees, bandwidth fees, support fees, or other hidden costs. MATRIX offers advanced features, such as full e-commerce functionality in each of the pricing plans.

Totara Cloud offers a mix of two Totara Products: Totara Learn and Totara Social. To use both the learning management system and the social platform, users have to pay $4,950 for 200 active users to $13,950 for 2,000 active users per year.

For example, for 250 active learners, Totara clients will have to pay $12,163 (a discounted amount) plus a $1,000 fee for 10 hours of live virtual configuration assistance.



This was a comparison of the most important feature differences between MATRIX and Totara Cloud.

MATRIX is an LMS for managing all e-learning activities such as delivering training, tracking employee performance, and selling online courses. MATRIX is more attractive, easier to use, and offers a bigger feature set than Totara, at a better value.

If you require additional information on MATRIX, please contact us.


This comparison paper was written in May 2021 based on publicly available documentation on both vendors' sites. It was prepared as a guide and is not intended to be exhaustive. The comparison information is for guidance only and does not constitute any contractual representation, warranty or obligation on our part. Liability for errors, omissions or consequential loss is expressly disclaimed.

Since pricing and features can change rapidly, we do not represent that this information is up-to-date, and we encourage you to get the latest information directly from the vendor's web site. If you find any information in this comparison guide to be inaccurate, please contact us with details and we will correct the information within 72hrs.

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