GUELPH, Ontario January 15, 2019
From LifeLearn’s beginnings in 1994 providing continuing education programs to veterinarians across North America using leading-edge technology, LifeLearn celebrates 25 years of continuing innovation and excellence providing education and communication products and services to the veterinary profession, animal health organizations, and pet service businesses.
“I’m thrilled to be part of such a dynamic company as it celebrates 25 years in business,” says Randy Valpy, President and CEO of LifeLearn. “LifeLearn started out as a company by listening to what the veterinary and animal health industry wants, and by responding to that with leading-edge digital solutions. Today, LifeLearn continues to listen and respond, and this unwavering focus and core commitment poises LifeLearn for future growth.”
LifeLearn Began as an Idea on a Napkin
“When we first started LifeLearn,” recalls Charles (Chas) Povey, PhD, co-founder of LifeLearn and Chairman of the Board, “Jim Stowe was already running a continuing education program at the Ontario Veterinary College” (OVC). Jim Stowe, DVM, led the OVC’s veterinary continuing education programs at the University of Guelph beginning in 1988 as Head of Veterinary Continuing Education, and in 1994 became LifeLearn’s co-founder.
In the early 1990’s, despite a successful continuing education department, OVC needed a solution to overcome government budget cuts. Setting up a standalone business to meet the demand for quality CE and support lifelong learning (the origin of the LifeLearn name) under the direction of Dr. Povey and Dr. Stowe was the answer!
“As a practitioner,” says Dr. Stowe, “I was using computers in practice before most other veterinarians.” Seeing the potential to adapt technology to overcome the problems of transferring information and skills beyond a traditional classroom setting, Dr. Povey and Dr. Stowe agreed that technology was the way to go to create a distance education program for veterinarians everywhere.
“So, Chas and I sat down one night and created the proverbial business plan on a napkin,” says Dr. Stowe, “and then we created a more formal business plan.” With financing from the OVC and the private sector (which included veterinarians), Dr. Povey and Dr. Stowe were provided office space by the OVC in the University of Guelph’s historic MacNabb House. In 1994, LifeLearn opened its doors to help animal health professionals “realize the value of knowledge”—a precept that remains foundational to everything that LifeLearn does for clients, communities and the animal health industry worldwide.
At LifeLearn’s launch in 1994, “We were faced with the fact that many veterinarians did not have computers,” says Dr. Povey. “At that time,” adds Dr. Stowe, “the media being used was analogue audio visual.” So LifeLearn’s first products used CDi (compact disc interactive) to offer veterinary “learning adventures”—case-based self-study modules for practical certification on veterinary subjects like veterinary dentistry, cardiology and more. In 1995, LifeLearn won the Gold Award for Best Use of CDi Technology in an Education Title at the CDi Association’s fourth annual awards.
And from there, as computers became more ubiquitous, LifeLearn moved to CD-ROM, then online development and continued to grow and expand its educational scope and services to veterinarians across North America, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Where LifeLearn Is Today
“LifeLearn’s proven expertise in veterinary content and digital technology has delivered a comprehensive suite of solutions to help veterinarians optimize their practices,” says Dr. Mark Stephenson, DVM and Chief Veterinary Officer for LifeLearn.
LifeLearn’s practice solutions now include:
- WebDVM – custom veterinary websites with complementary communications and online marketing tools
- ClientEd – a digital pet owner education portal with over 2,000 pet health articles written and reviewed by animal health experts to improve compliance and patient outcomes
- Sofie – the advanced veterinary medical search tool powered by IBM Watson® that won an Everyday Health – Health Innovation Award in 2015 at a special ceremony at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and won Gold for Best New Products (Workplace Resources) at the 2016 Edison Awards.
“And for the past 20 years,” adds Dr. Stephenson, “LifeLearn’s Industry Solutions have served animal health companies with veterinary-focused education, marketing services and meetings agency services.”
What Does the Future Hold for LifeLearn?
“Going forward, we’re primed for explosive growth, “says Valpy. “We have a number of new products that we’re launching in 2019, new partnerships that we’ve recently announced and others that are about to come.”
In November of 2018, LifeLearn announced its first entry into the pet services industry through a new partnership with Gingr, the leading online appointment and customer management solution for dog daycare, boarding, training, and grooming businesses. And in January 2019, LifeLearn announced its 50% purchase of VetFolio from the North American Veterinary Community and partnership with the NAVC to deliver an all-new VetFolio—one-stop access to hundreds of online veterinary medical education and resources for veterinarians, veterinary students, veterinary nurses/technicians, practice managers and practice staff.
Also new for LifeLearn in 2019:
- Two additional editions of WebDVM – Essential & Exclusive
- The latest pet health articles and updates with ClientEd
- Two new veterinary reference books added to Sofie and the ability to purchase Sofie online
- Stratus – a Sales Presentation & Empowerment Solution for animal heath companies
- ALLYDVM NPS (Net Promoter Score) for WebDVM websites
- PetNurse – after-hours telehealth support for clinics and their clients
- AdLift – custom digital media marketing for veterinarians
- SEO Extreme – search engine optimization (SEO) for veterinary websites
- VetScribe – custom content for digital communication channels
“As we look at our strategic plan,” says Valpy, “we’ve got some exciting plans that are going to result in the explosive growth that I think LifeLearn will experience in the coming years.”
About LifeLearn Animal Health
Celebrating 25 years of continuing innovation and excellence, LifeLearn, Inc. provides education and communications products and services to the veterinary profession, animal health organizations, and pet service businesses. LifeLearn’s award-winning competencies in digital media, combined with longstanding veterinary content expertise, have delivered sophisticated offerings to veterinarians to optimize their practices, including: WebDVM, custom veterinary websites; ClientEd; client education resource; and Sofie, the advanced veterinary medical search tool. For 20 years, animal health corporations have relied on LifeLearn to provide veterinary-focused education, digital marketing, and meetings agency services to optimize their businesses. LifeLearn was named one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies from 2015 to 2017 by PROFIT 500 and GROWTH 500 in 2018.
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