Revitalizing VCU's Medical Education: How Leo Modernized Their Learning System

The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine is one of Virginia’s largest academic medical centers and providers of indigent health care in the Commonwealth. With a mission to improve health through exceptional and innovative discovery, training, and patient care, they partnered with DaVinci Education to help make this possible.

Part of the VCU School of Medicine’s strategic plan is to produce a culturally competent workforce equipped to care for a diverse patient population. To achieve this, they needed to replace their outdated learning management system (LMS) with a more robust platform tailored for healthcare education. This is when they turned to DaVinci Education’s enterprise software platform, Leo.

The challenge

The VCU team was looking for a complete software platform that could help them meet the needs of their unique program. Their current LMS was over 10 years old and lacked certain capabilities required to run a healthcare education program. The VCU team considered the tools necessary to carry out their everyday tasks, including curriculum mapping features, quick reporting, and a central calendar for easy access. And of course, it had to be mobile-friendly.

Jay Diener-Brazelle, VCU’s Classroom Support Supervisor, admits, “Our old system had zero mobile functionality. It was really showing its age.” As one of the tenured team members at VCU, Diener-Brazelle took the lead to apply his historical knowledge about how education technology needs had been met in the past. Diener-Brazelle and the migration team considered several options, including building a new system from scratch to incorporate the elements they need to run their program. However, this would mean investing even more money, time, and effort in building software—instead of focusing on their mission. So the VCU team made the decision to invest in a commercial tool, hoping to find one that checked all of the boxes that mattered most.

During their search for a solution, SWOT analysis on multiple prospective platforms proved Leo to be the best fit for their program. It became clear that “Leo was by far the most developed in terms of features,” says Diener-Brazelle.

The solution

During the implementation process, Diener-Brazelle was in constant communication with the Leo transition team, providing vital context for decision-making as the onboarding process took shape, and was impressed with the support that he received. “The Leo transition team knows exactly how to talk to a medical school and understands on a very deep level how medical schools have similar goals but can execute them very differently,” he says.

The DaVinci Education team communicated effectively with the VCU team by asking relevant questions they could answer quickly. This helped everyone expedite the onboarding process and easily configure the new platform. The DaVinci Education team trained key administrators to become “super users,” turning them into Leo experts who can train anyone on specific tasks or features.

Diener-Brazelle explains that since DaVinci Education understands so well how different medical school organizations work, they can evaluate and recommend the most relevant capabilities of Leo for any given program. With appreciation, he notes, “I’ve experienced several different product transitions, and this was one of the smoothest I’ve ever been involved in.”

"Leo was the only solution that was better than our own homegrown system."
Jay Diener-Brazelle
VCU Classroom Support Supervisor

The DaVinci Difference

The rich capabilities that Leo provides are benefiting both the VCU faculty and students. Diener-Brazelle gives one example: “The curriculum mapping feature is extremely important. It helps us track when accreditation comes by with any inquiries. The ability to query information is what our past system was lacking.”

Leo’s central calendar also makes it easier for students to quickly access important information that is relevant to them. This, along with Leo’s robust reporting capabilities, is a big reason why the VCU team chose Leo. “We like the ability to run reports as well as the dashboard features that we never had built into our original LMS,” says Diener-Brazelle.

In addition to the healthcare-specific features of Leo, the genuine partnership provided by DaVinci Education is a huge draw. “The DaVinci Education team is fantastic and takes great care of us,” says Diener-Brazelle. He explains, “They knew about the general way that these schools work—so they could talk to us intelligently about the way we do business.” The VCU School of Medicine is looking forward to the continued positive impact Leo and the DaVinci Education team will have on their program and ultimately the success of their students.