Case Studies

Suzuka University of Medical Science

With an easy-to-use LMS system,
Tangible evidence of improvement in performance!

Nagayasu Toyoda, President
Dr. Hidekazu Miura
Dr. Hiroaki Taguchi
Dr. Hiroi Muto
Dr. Kanae Matsuura
Dr. Junpei Kawajiri


It is the first four-year medical university in Japan, founded in April 1991 by the Japan Radiological Technologists Association. The university started with two faculties and four departments and now has four faculties, nine departments, and 13 majors. Following the spirit of the university's foundation, "Making progress in science and technology to help improve the health and welfare of human beings", the university fosters specialists in medicine and welfare. As a comprehensive medical and welfare university, we support students with the most advanced education, training and systems.

To raise the academic ability of students in order to improve the "first time pass rate" for national examinations, etc.
Our target is to develop students further who can grow and reduce the number of students who can't graduate from the school, who take leave of absence or drop out by providing better academic support based on their level of proficiency.
We want to create e-learning content that motivates students to learn and allows them to work on their own anytime, anywhere.
Reinforce input with repeatable learning
Motivating students with original questions and goal setting
Easy to access, smooth operation, and easy to learn anytime, anywhere

The next step is to implement it in all faculties.

What were the challenges for you to implement e-learning at your school?

We introduced it as a weapon to improve our "first time pass rate of exams".

[President Toyoda.]
The curricula of our medical and welfare colleges are closely linked to national examinations and other qualification tests for the purpose of training pharmacists, for example.
In the past, the pass rate based on the number of students who took the exam was announced, but about two years ago, the government announced a policy to increase the pass rate of students who enrolled and graduated within the standard course of study (straight pass rate).
As part of our efforts to achieve this goal, we decided to utilize e-learning.
E-learning has been introduced in many universities, and teachers have tried various methods. Universities in the medical and welfare fields have probably used e-learning systems that contain past exam questions to prepare for national exams.
Under these circumstances, we wondered if there was an e-learning system that would be suitable for students whose grades were not improving as expected and whose proficiency tended to lag behind.
Rather than a system with ready-made content, we would prefer a system that allows us, the faculty, to create our own content and provide content that matches the level of proficiency of the students.
The ideal e-learning system was one that was easy for teachers to use and easy for students to accept.

Please tell us why you chose learningBOX.

The results clearly showed that it was effective. So we decided to officially implement it.

[President Toyoda.]
Professors from the Department of Radiological Technology and the Department of Clinical Engineering at our university had already used learningBOX and found it to be very easy to use.
In particular, since two years ago when the new corona epidemic started, the learningBOX has been actively used in combination with remote and face-to-face classes, and the students' performance has visibly improved. In fact, Dr. Matsuura of the Department of Radiological Technology showed us comparative data between the case where learningBOX was introduced and the case where it was not, and we were able to obtain clear evidence.
After seeing this, we decided that it should be formally introduced university-wide.

Case Studies

The first time we used the system was at the Department of Radiological Technology, and we saw tangible improvement there.

The number of students caught up in retests has been reduced to zero!

[Dr. Muto, Department of Radiological Technology]
Around 2017, I started thinking about how I could improve the performance of my students. I was looking for areas that could be improved with technology, and when I found learningBOX, I immediately tried to incorporate it.
I thought that this would be a good way to create a system that would encourage students to try it themselves, rather than forcing them to do it.
If teachers can control the amount of input students need while using their own teaching materials, and if they can set goals such as moving on to the next stage when they have reached this level, I think it will lead to an increase in students' motivation.
Also, it is very important for students to work on it that it does not take long to log in and that it runs crisply and without stress. The learningBOX cleared that point as well.
So, since Dr. Matsuura of the same Department of Radiological Technology was in charge of students who were not good at basic subjects such as mathematics and physics, I got other teachers involved and tried using the system, especially in subjects where grades were sluggish, and the number of students caught in retests dropped to zero.

That's great! How did you feel about it, Dr. Matsuura?

I found that students were able to catch and retain the knowledge.

[Dr. Matsuura, Department of Radiological Technology]
"There were so many students who said they didn't know what they didn't understand, but while trying out the various contents in learningBOX, I created questions with an emphasis on the fact that they could be repeated. I think that the results showed that students were able to input information well by repeating the questions many times.
Specifically, we introduced repetition learning using the learningBOX in the course "Radiochemistry". When we compared the results of the course using the learningBOX with the results of the previous face-to-face class, more students scored higher and there were no more students who failed the course.

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So you can see that the results are very clear! Of course, I think that means the quality of the content your teachers produce is high, but we're very happy too! Are you planning to implement this system in all departments?

Yes. The implementation of e-learning will also be specified in the FD Handbook.

[President Toyoda.]
As a matter of fact, there are only a few areas where we have been able to demonstrate the effects of education on the evidence base, so it is very significant that the data has been presented.
We believe that the most important thing for our university to do is to establish our own learning support methods to deal with students who tend to lag behind in their proficiency.
Anyway, I told them to keep in mind that I would take care of them until they were ready.
We are currently working on a draft of the FD handbook, which will include this educational policy and also specify that all faculty will be asked to implement e-learning as a tool for this purpose.

Could you share some of the examples of content are you currently creating or using?

We tend to create questions in a wide range of difficulty levels and formats.

[President Toyoda.]
For example, in my lectures on emergency medicine, there are many things that you only need to memorize, but there are some things, such as the sensitivity and specificity of tests, that you cannot just memorize, but need to take the time to understand and understand step by step.
It is very difficult for all students to understand these kinds of matters that require understanding in the usual lecture time.
So, in the learninigBOX, I created questions from easy step 1 to difficult step 4 according to the level of proficiency. Then, for each step, I created a PDF file with explanatory materials that anyone would be able to solve the problem by reading it, and pasted it into the learninigBOX. Once all the steps were passed, the test was administered in normal mode using the CBT method (where the computer randomly selects a pool of questions) with a time limit. After passing all the steps, the test will be taken in normal mode using the CBT method (where the computer randomly selects a pool of questions) with a time limit.
For items that are easy to memorize, you can create questions that require the student to choose two correct answers from five choices or to choose the correct answer with the number of correct answers hidden, and then shuffle the question limbs when solving the question again.
In the case of fill-in-the-blank questions, students will only remember the words that go into the holes, so I also make separate questions with the same sentence but with the holes shifted.
I made a total of about 250 problems, using a variety of formats like this and inserting illustrations as needed to keep the students interested.

[Dr. Miura, Department of Clinical Engineering]
I would like to mention that I am the chairman of the LMS Research Subcommittee, and we recently asked your company to make a presentation at the 9th LMS Research Subcommittee, and it was very well received. Thank you very much.
We are sharing the materials from that event as content for teachers in the learningBOX.

Thank you! What other responses do you get from teachers?

We conducted a survey. We received a variety of opinions.

[Dr. Miura, Department of Clinical Engineering]
In fact, prior to this interview, we conducted a questionnaire.
Some of the good points include: "It is easy to create and transfer questions," "We can see the students' level of learning," "It eliminates the need to manage the schedule of exercises and grading," "Students can study in their spare time," "Students can easily look back," and Students find it easy to review.
Some of the points that we would like to see improved include: "I would like to be able to download the history of students' study time in batches," "I was not able to set up my membership properly," "Maintenance was done during lecture hours," "I would like to be able to register past national exam questions in batches," and "The video capacity is too small. The video size is too small.

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Thank you for putting this together so clearly! We will consider improvements as needed. Also, I understand that you are managing the scorees of the students.

Reminder emails have greatly increased the survey response rate.

[Professor Taguchi, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences]
I mainly use it for creating surveys and posting videos to remind students of the survey. My classes are held on Thursdays, and the survey response period is from the end of the lecture to 11:00 p.m. two days before the next week's lecture. 30 or so of the 100 or so students in my class respond after class. I sent out a reminder email in the evening of the deadline to the 2/3 of the students who did not respond to the survey. This has been very effective as about half of the remaining students responded from there. I think it would be better if the reminder email is sent automatically.
I also uploaded all the lecture videos from the previous year for my lectures to prepare for the current year. It was very helpful to be able to copy each directory when preparing for the lecture.

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Are there any other reactions or impressions you have had since introducing the system?

Faculty members now have a more positive attitude toward LMS operation.

[Dr. Muto, Department of Radiological Technology]
I would like to add something about the questionnaire that Taguchi-sensei mentioned.
The Department of Radiological Technology was the first to use the system, so when other teachers decided to use it, we proposed a proposal for educational improvement that would be very beneficial for teachers who did not have content to upload or who were not very enthusiastic about it in the first place.
At that time, I told them that the questionnaire function of learningBOX is effective not only for incorporating into lectures, but also for getting feedback from students on what they think about the class.

[Dr. Miura, Department of Clinical Engineering]
About four years ago, when the idea of introducing an LMS was first discussed, there was still a lot of resistance, but now we are getting more and more comments and questions about how we can improve our classes. But now we are getting more and more comments and questions about how to improve our classes.

Thank you very much! So, do you have any requests or wishes for learningBOX in the future?

Work together to build a learning system that can be used according to the level of proficiency.

[Dr. Kawajiri, First Year Education]
At the time of enrollment, we used to administer a test to measure students' basic academic skills using a mark-sheet system, but this was cancelled by Corona in the 2020 academic year, and in the 2021 academic year, we administered the test using learningBOX. At the time, we were not sure how much we could do with learningBOX, and we had to input formulas in TeX, which was confusing and difficult. I would like to see it improved so that it can be used more intuitively, or I would like to learn how to handle mathematical expressions again.

[Dr. Muto, Department of Radiological Technology]
I am very satisfied with the usability of creating questions. After that, I would appreciate better operability in assessing how the students are working on it and how many marks they are getting.

[Dr. Matsuura, Department of Radiological Technology]
Indeed, I think it would be easier for teachers to use the system if there were a list of the time spent working on each student, or a feature that would allow them to see at a glance which problems they are weak in.

[President Toyoda.]
In the material presented by Mr. Tatsuno, he mentioned a plan to develop an adaptive learning system in the future. As I mentioned earlier, we would like to create a learning system that can respond to the level of proficiency of students, so we would be very happy if we could share and cooperate with each other in real time.

↓This is the official website of Suzuka University of Medical Science.
Case Studies


How was the case study interview with Suzuka University of Medical Science?
The president of the university himself has taken the lead in actively introducing e-learning. Many faculty members are using learningBOX in this process. I am truly grateful.
What surprised me the most, and what I appreciated the most, was that they kept numerical data on the effects of the introduction and promoted the use of the system based on the data.
Depending on the subject and the teaching style of each teacher, it is necessary to be able to cover a wide range of ways to use and create problems.
We have received feedback on many issues, and we will continue to evolve the system to make it even more useful.

It is a sobering thought to think that learningBOX is involved in the curriculum of a school that nurtures future medical professionals.
We will continue to support Suzuka University of Medical Science so that we can be of service to their education.

Thank you to all the teachers who took time out of their busy schedules to attend this event.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview!

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