Medcast creates successful communities of practice with Totara Social

Medcast is a medical e-learning company with a particular focus on social learning and Communities of Practice. Their vision is about combining formal learning practice and webinars with social learning, with the aim of providing quality learning for GPs and other health professionals.

 The Challenge

At the end of his PhD focusing on social learning and communities of practice, Medcast founder Dr Stephen Barnett identified that there was no single platform which would achieve his vision of the ideal learning process. This comprised social learning, live webinars and content on demand, with interactivity and tacit knowledge sharing being tracked throughout. He wanted learners to be able to tag and share content, and in doing so, create an environment which supported a continuous learning journey. However, the lack of suitable technology available proved problematic.

As Medcast started to become more technology literate, they realised they needed to do more. They identified Totara LMS as having a lot of the functionality they needed in terms of vocational learning, including competency management, management roles within the LMS and the ability to plan and track performance for compliance needs.

The Solution


Medcast opted to work with Totara Partner Androgogic to implement Totara LMS and Totara Social for a fully integrated learning solution. They also integrate Adobe Connect, Salesforce and their own website with the Totara platforms for a smart solution and a seamless client experience. In order to facilitate this seamless experience, they have implemented a left-hand navigation system, allowing the user to move between the different digital environments quickly and easily.

Medcast wanted learning to be presented to their end users in a social environment, with appropriate courses being flagged to healthcare workers. In these courses, learners are then encouraged to interact and contribute, giving learners an end-to-end range of learning options both in and out of the social learning environment. Close integration between the Totara LMS and Totara Social enables them to add value to their target audience by recognising tacit knowledge as well as formal learning. 




They decided to initially launch the platform to selected groups only, such as their ‘Black Dog Institute Community’ allowing them to work through their functional requirements and refine the solution. Their overall engagement strategy with the initial user group included webinars, standalone e-learning modules and feedback exercises in the community forums. The target for learners is to achieve a set number of CPD points. As well as this, Medcast has implemented a blog on their website with an RSS feed into the community pages.

The Results

There are currently over 800 members from Medcast’s Black Dog Institute Community using the solution (around 10% of their overall client list), plus an Examination Preparation Group of around 100 users. There are also 18 live and on-demand webinars available on the site with 2,500 completions to date (60% of which were for live webinars). Additionally, there are six one-hour e-learning modules with over 700 completions to date.

Medcast have enjoyed positive feedback on the solution, particularly from their more tech-savvy users in the Examination Preparation Group where the presentation of use cases has proven to be a great way of engaging the participants.

Medcast and Androgogic have also been working together to action some of the lessons they have learned along the way to further improve the success of the platform in the future. The team is looking forward to the next round of enhancements following their upcoming upgrade to Totara Social 3 to allow them to build on their work to date.