eLearning Delivery Methods

by Stephen Hudak


As we have been discussing,
students have a learning preference and by using Bloom’s Taxonomy and the
Socratic Method we can enhance the student’s learning experience. Using a
variety of methods that match the message we are intending to convey adds to
the joy of learning.   Let’s look at a few methods and how they can help
VP University help you, the student!

Virtual Classroom:  Many of you have attended our
WEBINAR BOOT CAMPs, a week full of various topics in 30-45-minute
segments.  Often these are short lecture followed by a question and answer
period.  This allows us to provide information in a convenient
forum.  Students can then watch or review the video on our YouTube

VPU’s in-class training is preceded by a
training webinar with discussion, quizzes, and follow up assignments.

Recorded Virtual
: As noted
above our webinars are recorded for asynchronous, anytime/anywhere learning.

Audio/Video Webcast: This seldom-used method helps for small
or one-on-one training.  VPU will do live as-needed webinars for prospective
customers to demonstrate our
software, or to help a student see and do techniques rather than just reading
or hearing about them such as in email or by phone.  Would anyone listen
to a podcast

MOOCs (Massive Open
Online Courses)
: This
is the definite next step in VP University’s growth – to offer topics in an
interactive format for the student to expand their knowledge.  Imagine if
you are not too familiar with Varco Pruden roof panel options.  You can
find a short video, access a handout, or take a short course to learn even more
– at your convenience!

Microlearning /
: To
supplement MOOCs VPU provides quick, relevant topics to our students on many
topics.  To introduce a new technique, answer a common question, or just
to inspire micro-“learning”, “bursts”, “minutes”,
can meet this need quickly.  The below is a sample of a common question in
our software.

Visit this link for
video>>> https://youtu.be/dOkAz-ChPQQ

Whatever message we wish to
convey there is a method to match, and more importantly, in the way the
students wish to receive this message.  Anywhere/anytime information is
expected.  Next, we must anticipate the questions and needs and have them

vp university

eLearning Delivery Methods Stephen Hudak

As we have been discussing, students have a learning preference and by using Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Socratic Method we can enhance the student’s learning experience. Using a variety of methods that match the message we are intending to convey adds to the joy of learning.   Let’s look at a few methods and how they can help VP University help you, the student!

Virtual Classroom:  Many of you have attended our WEBINAR BOOT CAMPs, a week full of various topics in 30-45-minute segments.  Often these are short lecture followed by a question and answer period.  This allows us to provide information in a convenient forum.  Students can then watch or review the video on our YouTube channel.

Virtual Classroom-Interactive: VPU’s in-class training is preceded by a training webinar with discussion, quizzes, and follow up assignments.

Recorded Virtual Classroom: As noted above our…

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I Will Fight No More Forever

“I Will Fight No More Forever” by Stephen Hudak



Chief Joseph


Two years after heartbreakingly declaring “I will fight no more forever,” Chief Joseph tried to explain the differences between the Indian and White Man.  A proud, yet defeated, man, he must have been quite humbled to have been asked in 1879 (perhaps as a token gesture only by the U.S. government) to speak in Washington to tell the story of his people.

Many Native Americans in 1879, including Chief Joseph’s proud father had lived during the “Trail of Tears,” the forced relocation of the Cherokee in 1839 to what is now present day Oklahoma.  Wishing only peace (and no doubt to avoid their own forced migration) Joseph fought till the blood shed by his people forced him to go back on a promise to his father – “…to protect his grave with [his] life…” (Joseph 280).

Chief Joseph begins his speech by stating “…it does not require many words to tell the truth…” (Joseph 277).  This phrase should be a life-rule by which all abide – leaders and non-leaders alike.  The truth, while often difficult to declare, should be simply stated.  Truth-speakers only gain respect.

Chief Joseph spoke of the laws his people followed and strongly believed in such as “…it is a disgrace to tell a lie; that we should only speak the truth; that was a shame to take from another his property without paying for it…”  (Joseph 278).  He spoke these specifically to remind the U.S. government to think about what they had done to his people.  The government’s selfish values conflicted with Joseph’s.  The U.S. wished good land for people, but those people did not include Joseph’s.  This thinking that the white man was more important than the Indian led to decades of ill feelings.  This is a prime example that we live with the decisions we make and often those decisions affect generations to come.

The decision Chief Joseph had to make, to continue to fight to protect the rightful land and risk many, many lives or to forsake his promise to his father and save many lives must have weighed greatly on him.  Even though the land belonged to his people, Chief Joseph chose to surrender and “…fight no more forever.”  What was right in this circumstance was to save lives knowing that victory against the much stronger American forces would not come.  “We were like deer.  They were like grizzly bears (Joseph 280).  The American government was in the wrong…sometimes what is morally and ethically the right thing is not that which is done by those who hold the power.  Chief Joseph showed greater courage, strength, and certainly, leadership in saving his people – basing his decisions on his principles rather than emotionally wrought father-son sentiments.

Our decisions are mostly based upon our values.  Sometimes group decisions are a result of consensus, but still they seldom go against what we strongly believe and what we hold important in our hearts.  What we consider important, family, God, respect for life – everything that we are influences our decisions.  Knowing what we believe, and espousing good morals will help us to arrive at just conclusions as did Huckleberry Finn and Chief Joseph.



[1] Surrender Speech of Chief Joseph – October 5, 1877 Bears Paw, MontanaI am tired of fighting.  Our chiefs are killed.  Looking Glass is dead.  Toohulhulsote is dead.  The old men are all dead.  It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led the young men is dead.

It is cold and we have no blankets.  The little children are freezing to death.  My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food.  No one knows where they are–perhaps freezing to death.  I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find.  Maybe I shall find them among the dead.

Hear me, my chiefs.  I am tired.  My heart is sick and sad.  From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.


Works Cited
 Joseph, Chief.  “An Indian’s View of Indian Affairs.”  Leadership Development Studies.  Ed. Monika S. Byrd.  Mississippi: Phi Theta Kappa, 2006.  277-278.
Twain, Mark.  “Huckleberry Finn.”  Leadership Development Studies.  Ed. Monika S. Byrd.  Mississippi: Phi Theta Kappa, 2006.  274-275.

Playful Innovation

Playful Innovation by Stephen Hudak


Work plus Play (2)

Work is a dirty four-letter word…or so many feel.  Play is another four-letter word…better accepted.  Innovation has, well, it doesn’t matter how many letters it has, what’s important is that Work + Play = Innovation.

How does a company get the work done while allowing time for play?  The online blog, The Muse, has some unique suggestions to try.[1]  Among them are my favorites:

  • Surround yourself with Inspiration: Make your work area fun, inviting – make it YOU!  Many companies limit what can be displayed in an open work-setting and suggests doing this on Pinterest where you can go to get reminded and inspired.
  • Ban things: This interesting concept consists of considering words, procedures, etc. that you presently employ and consider the ramifications.  Early in my career a manager asked for a report at the end of the week.  With my travel schedule I used to complete this on Friday afternoon or Saturday. After a few months of religiously doing this and never hearing a word, I stopped.  Time went by and still no word.  I was wasting precious family time on busy-work.
  • Fuel up on creativity: Stop checking your phone and email first thing in the morning. Do something different.  Read something creative, Listen to an inspirational podcast.  Watch a TedTalk.
  • Get out of the office[2]: “Make a habit of stepping outside even if it’s just to walk around the block. As you stroll, make a point to notice things. If you need some discipline on your inspiration hunt, make a game of it and deliberately hunt for things that begin with the letter A on the first day, B the second, and so on. Your mind will start connecting dots between what you see and the problems you left back at the office. That’s the beauty of our subconscious.” This one was too good not to note word-for-word!  Working in a cubicle, an office with no windows, a hotel conference room can stifle creativity.  I’ve been guilty of this numerous times.  I’ve come to the end of a training sessions and realize that with answering questions during breaks and checking email at lunch, I’ve gone an entire day and never stepped outside.  Just a few minutes of fresh air, seeing the sun, hearing the birds, can revive and spark creativity and innovation.

Note that cost of these tips.  Next to nothing, but the benefits can be astounding to your well-being and the company’s growth.

In a 2016 lecture titled “In Praise of Boredom”[3], Maria Konnikova tells of a psychological study where students were asked to sit in a room and do absolutely nothing.  They had no cell phones, no technology, nothing – except for a device that provided electric shocks to themselves.  Over half of the students administered shocks to themselves rather than just still for ten minutes.  Technology has made us this way in many aspects.  The prospects of doing nothing can be frightening, especially to the younger generations.

Konnikova notes that the default mode network of our brain becomes incredibly active when we do nothing.  This part of the brain leads to creative insights and thus innovative thoughts are more likely to occur.  She states: “Insight is what happens when we give ourselves time to be bored, time to do nothing.”[4]

The default mode network becomes inactive when we are busy doing various things and when we try to multi-task.  When we do nothing we start thinking, planning, creating.  I carry a small notebook with me wherever I go as ideas often come when I’m sitting at the airport, on a plane, walking to a class, and must be written down before I become busy once again.

Society is making us less tolerant of boredom.  We are constantly bombarded by 24-hour news, social media that sucks us in, makes us angry or leads us away from what we consider important.  When was the last time you say without the television blaring, without your cell phone in your hand, even without a book?

Start today.  Take just five minutes to begin.  Have some paper handy to note your thoughts.  See where your brain takes you.  See what creativity and innovation may arise.  Praise productive boredom.

[1] From: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-ways-you-can-innovate-at-work-every-single-dayno-matter-how-boring-your-job-title

[2] IBID

[3] From: https://youtu.be/plUvDGDeIrI

[4] IBID

#PSR Personal Social Responsibility

PSR (Personal Social Responsibility) by Stephen Hudak


Much has been written about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  However, a corporation is just a thing.  It takes driven, personally responsible people to make the service vision of a company come alive.  Each person must believe the corporate vision and it is up to leadership to present it clearly and convincingly.

We must treasure where we work, where we live, and where we play.  We have one earth; we must protect it.  I wish to leave the world a little better for my granddaughter.  This being one of my personal goals, it is natural to extend this to society at large.  I volunteer at her school’s library, help out with her volleyball team, and have just trained as a judge for her Forensic League.

Serving others is important to me.  In addition to my full-time job, I teach leadership classes at the local community college.  This is a paid position, but is one of my passions – to help others grow.

Personality responsibility should be at the top of every leader’s list.  We should have a serving attitude rather than consider volunteering and societal efforts merely an obligation. To do for someone that may never know what you did or be able to repay you is altruistic.  Corporations do give.  It would be folly to think a company could do good things in their community without Tweeting or posting on Facebook, or is it?  Perhaps it is, but should it be?

Workers participate in clothing drives donned in company gear.  Should we do good things without expecting any applause?  Certainly.  We should do good with others in mind and in return, we better ourselves, or company, our community, and our world.

PSR (2)


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programs – Building TRUST

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programs – Building TRUST by Stephen Hudak

Within our own company, one of our taglines is “Our Communities Are Our Homes”.  We are encouraged to volunteer.  Our corporate headquarters does Christmas programs for local children, they support local animal shelters, help in local assisted living facilities.  These are all great things and help the community while providing service opportunities to employees.  Alex Edmans powerful statement at the end of a TEDTalk, “To reach the land of profits, follow the road of purpose.”[1]  Some corporations drive the highway to big bucks over the pavement of used up employees.

In order to see what other programs might benefit our employees, following the phrasing of Edmans: “companies that treat their workers better perform better” I’ve been thinking about an issue that may affect not only our company, but everyone – TRUST.  Starting with the premise that trust begins with me, my mindset, my thoughts and actions, I created the following Trust Mindmap.  With myself (ME) at the center, I encircle myself with those that have the most immediate impact on me. This is, of course, situational and recent.  Other mindmaps could be created for many other situations (team projects and your five-year career plan) to see where improvement is desired.  To protect the innocent, as Joe Friday would say, no names are used.  I placed a square around those I trust and a triangle around those I don’t fully trust.  One circle was given as the relationship has not yet begun, but

BSBond Communities

BlueScope Bond

I do give the benefit of the doubt till proved otherwise.

I’ve then placed just a couple of words next to each person on why or why not trust may or may not exist at this time.  Then I can begin to understand the cause and seek solutions.

Trust has been identified as a concern in our past two organizational surveys.  Leadership has taken courses and read books.  Teams are to begin a study of Stephen M. R. Covey’s book “The Speed of Trust”.  Time will tell whether this has been effective.

We’ve held small group meetings and feel that we all trust one another, but that we do not feel the same towards others for various reasons.  I feel that if we simply “preach to the choir” the entire congregation, while initially feeling inspired, will soon find that nothing has changed.  There are things over which we have little control.  What we can control is ourselves.

My Trust Mindmap MUST remain confidential.  We need to look deep at our own feelings before we can hope to remedy the greater organization.

TRUST Mind Map


  • Why do I feel this way about this person? Note the good and bad
  • When did this occur? If you cannot point to a time, then question why you feel this way.
  • Note specific examples. Stating they always lie is not good enough.  Not what the lie was and how it impacted you and the team.
  • What can I do about it? Is it “worth the battle”?  If you are feeling low-trust towards someone, it is at least a battle within yourself you need to work on.
  • Communicate with someone you have complete trust in. Role play various scenarios.
  • Realize that low-trust discussions will not be easy. Do not delay the inevitable.
  • Plan what you wish to say. Set goals for your conversation.
  • Be open-minded as the other party may not even realize there is an issue.
  • Follow up.
  • And most importantly – BE TRUSTWORTHY.



[1] From: https://youtu.be/Z5KZhm19EO0

Three-Pipe Problem

Three-Pipe Problem by Stephen Hudak

Before pondering a particularly tough mystery, Sherlock Holmes tells Doctor Watson: “It is quite a three-pipe problem, and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.”[1]  Holmes is a master thinker.  He thinks before he speaks.  He reflects before acting.  Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, but the fact remains – we could all benefit from his practice of mindfulness.

In a recent study of decision making I was struck by a caution to “Be less certain”.  I had to stop and think about this for a bit.  Some of the pitfalls leading to poor decisions are not being opening minded and acting too quickly.  Being less certain does not imply being indecisive or wishy-washy, it simply means to pause, step back from your initial reaction, and consider other options.

There are many, many methods to come to a decision.  None of them involve knee-jerk reactions.  Development Dimensions International (DDI) lists their recommended Universal Steps for Decision Making.

DDI's Decision Making

DDI’s Universal Steps for Decision Making

We may not be able to solve a mystery or make a difficult decision in fifty-minutes like Sherlock Holmes, but taking time to work through these seven steps will allow us to make a better informed decision.

Decision making is seldom a solo effort.  You cannot possibly be an expert in all things, but you can certainly get input from some, and be sure to involve those that the decision will impact.  People often do not like change.  They like, even less, change that is thrust on them without their knowledge or involvement.

Get the proper people involved in your decision making process.  Communicate with those affected as soon as feasibly possible to circumvent the rumor mill.

Another benefit of being less certain is to help you set aside biases.  We all have them, we are human, after all.  Being able to look past those preconceived notions sometimes takes super-human efforts, but is necessary to allow all information to be gathered and process in a fair manner.

We make decisions constantly.  What shall I wear today?  Should I have a bagel with my coffee or Frosted Flakes?  The decision making process, we are focusing on, while probably not of a Holmesian nature, do hold risk.

Sherlock Holmes is a confident man.  He has a wealth of experience detecting, yet he admits to needing some serious reflection time, while puffing three pipes.  Holmes becomes “less certain” in his own way.  He starts fresh with an open mind, allowing facts to determine his decisions.  His growth over fixed mindset allows him this freedom.  He’s not bound to the past, he can look objectively at new information, he can follow the facts rather than jump to conclusions.

Find your own “three-pipe method.

[1] From “The Red-headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes.

Leader-Employee Relationship

Leader-Employee Relationship by Stephen Hudak

Leadership is not a one-person activity[1], write Carstens and Barnes in their intense study of the quality of a leader/employee relationship.  A leader needs followers.  We often think of Abraham Lincoln standing tall in his stovepipe hat leading through difficult times.  We think of Vince Lombardi giving an inspiring speech before the Super Bowl.  They are noted as great leaders, but without others they would fail.  They could not complete the great missions alone.

RelationshipsMatter (2)

Carstens and Barnes continue with: “the views revolve around interdependence, care and growth, service or servant leadership and being in control as opposed to taking control.”  The key, I believe, in their article is “…the common thread involves relationships between the members of specific groups or teams and their ability [for] the role of either leader or follower, depending on the specific demands of the situation (brackets and bold added).  Having flexible people that can move between leaders and workers (not that leaders don’t work), makes a team more adaptable and ready for change.  Trust is key.  In these roles there is no time for micromanaging, or petty jealousies.  People need to know what is expected of them and feel empowered to do it.

The Carstens and Barnes study adds Vision, Accountability, Decision-making, and Trust to the list of key items for fulfilling leader-employee relationships.  “The study indicates significant relationship between trust as an element of leadership employee relationship and the customer, internal process and people perspectives of the balanced scorecard…it also has a significant relationship with the overall business performance.”

There you have it!  You only need engaged, flexible, happy, committed, motivated, driven, service-oriented, customer-focused, independent, creative, employees.  No real surprises there.  Now, “How” you do it is the difficult task of the leader.


[1] From: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.edu20.org/files/882459/leadership_relationship_research_92-376-1-PB.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJL2YKQD4VUAFRMRQ&Expires=1537640737&Signature=9IXeWhfSP6Olt7rLmfpnPekMdMQ%3D

Social Media Creates Personalized Relationships?

Social Media Creates Personalized Relationships? by Stephen Hudak

Social media creates personalized relationships?  Why the question mark?  Social media can be a great and tragic thing.  Watching the recent Mark Zuckerberg hearing before congress, my fourteen-year-old granddaughter commented, “I don’t know why they act so surprised!  Nothing is private on the internet.”  She’s a child, but she gets it.  Unfortunately, this is the world into which she was born.

Anything worthwhile will provide benefits to society.  However, there are always those ready to abuse this thing for their own selfish gain.

In a 2013 article, Dr. Viorica Paus, raises some interesting observations, mainly directed at the Romanian business community, but we can learn from her views.  She writes: “Social media, through free access of persons in the group, flattens hierarchical structures and creates a personalized between management and employees.”[1]  Interesting.  In the United States I think we first look at social media, Facebook and Instagram, perhaps more notably, as a means to keep in touch with our friends and those with like interests.  LinkedIn has become mainly a channel for business specific (non-cat, food, binge-drinking) posts.  Business networking on LinkedIn, rather than truly social networking on Facebook, for example is the rule.

Considering Dr. Paus’s “personalized relationships” thought it depends on how much the user (leader or employee) is willing to share.  “Workplace”, a Facebook for organizations, if you will, helps to foster leader, employee communication.  I’ve used our platform for some time and have learned and shared some interesting things, but I cannot say I’ve “created a personal relationship” there.

Paus notes that new and social media “increases transparency of management decisions.”[2]  Again, only to the point of which a leader is willing to share those decisions.  If leadership chooses not to be transparent enough (in the eyes of the employees, or even just one employee) social media give the rumor mill a chance to run rampant.  Paus states: “leadership becomes fragile by [being open in new media to] exposure to critical opinions”[3]. Honest communication is critical in leadership.  Sharing and becoming transparent helps to build trust.

In particular on relationships, Paus writes: “In Romania, managers do not take into account the views expressed by employees in social media.”[4]  This may work in Romania in 2013, but this form of free speech must be monitored by leadership and reined in by employees.  Yes, we are free to post and say whatever we wish on any social media site, but there are still consequences of those actions.  Employees have been fired, people not hired, friendships cut, relationships made through social media – some of these, I am certain, are leader-employee relationships.

Nothing on social media is private.  Use as such.  People can be rather brave behind a screen.  Even a seemingly benign post can raise someone’s ire and bring a flood of negativity.  Leadership is about influence, yes, and this requires great care and effective communication.  Social media allow us to reach larger audiences, but it also open us up to criticism.  Be prepared to deal with it.




[1] From: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.edu20.org/files/882459/TJOLV_newmediaandleadership_2018.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJL2YKQD4VUAFRMRQ&Expires=1538231966&Signature=ph979y6LtjrXVM%2FAfErNgRF3pe8%3D

[2] IBID

[3] IBID

[4] IBID

Cultural Foundations for Team Sustainability

Cultural Foundations for Team Sustainability by Stephen Hudak

Your team has been created.  You’ve moved beyond the early stages of coming together, you survived the sometimes stormy times of getting to know one another and understanding individual roles, you are sailing along smoothly with minor setbacks, and you are performing at a high level.  How do you keep this team unity in place and growing?  Cary Paul lists three cultural foundations for building a sustainable team: Trust; A Common Purpose; Adapting to Change.

Some additional key items are promoting and growing a growth mindset within each team member; a communication plan which includes frequent updates and opportunities to give and receive feedback; and challenges to allow each team member the chance to learn new skills and showcase their strengths.

I believe relationships, including the coming together of a team, are built on a foundation of trust.  Team members must feel empowered to do their jobs and not be afraid to fail.  The team leader should provide and foster the environment for them to safely do so.   Clearly communicating this is critical.

Clarity of purpose and frequent, specific feedback will insure the team is on track and goal-oriented.

Change is inevitable, growth is optional as John Maxwell has said.  Team members should be flexible with eyes stills on the goal.  If a project was graphed it would not fall under the “shortest distance between two points is a straight line.”  Instead it often looks like that patch of a cat from the time it slowly stretches and arches it back leaving the sofa to hop on an end table, zig-zag between someone’s legs, and circle around the kitchen table before finally arriving at its food bowl (the goal).

Cat Goals

Using the Cary-Hudak model for team balance, sustainability, and growth will keep your team on-track and growing.  Teams must also undergo a forced change to bring in new people with new ideas and new growth opportunities.  Teams are not and should not be static.  Complacency, and perhaps, even, too much success too early could be detrimental to the team’s life.  Continually introduce (reasonable) change into your team.  Less is more.  Be careful of large-scale changes, unless it is absolutely necessary to the team’s and the organization’s survival.

Cary-Hudak Team Model



Team Framework

Team Framework by Stephen Hudak

Creating a framework for organizational application.

Placing the Developmental Dimensions International (DDI) “Team Success Factors” in a formula we have:

Results = Trust + Communication + Commitment + Process

To achieve our desired results, we must understand our shared vision clearly.  Communicating this early and often is necessary.

To track our success, we can use the S.M.A.R.T. model (Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound)

Specific: Goal is to promote and utilize teamwork in an organization

Measurable: Each team will have specific goals supporting the overall organization’s mission/vision.  The measurement will be completing of these goals/tasks as required.

Achievable/Actionable: specific team tasks/goals working towards the overall mission are certainly achievable, provided the people are empowered to do so.

Realistic: Clarity, communication, and specific tasks/goals and meaningful work will ensure this.

Time-bound: Depending on the tasks/goals realistic dates will be given and success measure regularly.

Team Success Factors

Development Dimensions International Team Success Factors