VentureForge University is offering a suite of online courses that bring knowledge and know-how to students with the goal of creating value for the students’ and their companies. The university classes are written by Dr. Stephen A. Di Biase Ph.D. and include topics such as intellectual property strategy, innovation, and various other business topics.

A critical question of any online course is:

Why pay money taking an online course when you can buy the books on the topic and learn by reading them? 

The answer is:

Concurrently utilizing multiple learning methods increases the person’s retention ability for any given material. The Venture Forge online courses intentionally uses at least 3 learning methods for facilitating the student’s retention by using  information from the online material compared to simply reading text.

While many people find learning to be rewarding, some will tell you that it’s just plain stressful at times. What are the best ways to learn? Do the methods and techniques vary across subject matter? For example, it’s unlikely you would you use the same approach to learn how to tie your shoes as you would to learn abstract concepts?

There is no fool-proof way of how to learn. The good news is there are several methods and techniques you can use to make the time spent learning, or getting educated, more productive. The VentureForge online learning methodology specifically applies visual, aural, and verbal learning techniques supported by logical and solitary methods. For example, the Intellectual Property: Creating Competitive Advantage course relies heavily on being sure that the visual and auditory components of the material are very easy to understand. Further, we employ a very simple language so that the verbal component of the material is simple. Finally, we have carefully organized the material in a logical manner so that it flows seamlessly from one concept to the next, helping people who learn through logic and reasoning. All of these methods are encapsulated such that an individual can teach themselves, taking advantage of the intrapersonal method of learning.

In addition to the online course material, Venture Forge supplies the course material in a written form via a PDF file. The Venture Forge learning methodology provides the student access to all of the primary learning styles readily available.

Remaining Relevant:  Effective Continuing Education

Important questions employees need to answer, for themselves, in today’s business world are:

  1. Do employees need continuing education, education past their formal schooling, to remain relevant to their employers and the market generally? Assuming the answer is yes, then why and in what form, does this education take?
  2. What constitutes an effective source of continuing education considering quality, cost, impact over time etc.?
  3. Where to I obtain this kind of education?
  4. How will I access this continuing education in both an effective and efficient manner?
  5. How much will this cost me or my firm?
  6. What should the employee and firm do?

Obviously this list of questions can be much larger but as a starting point this helps the “perpetual student”, something every employee must accept, is the new reality.

Q1.      The answer to question 1 is absolutely. 

A simple way to think about continuing education is to compare the rate at which knowledge is being generated to the rate at which it is being assimilated. With the Internet and digital technologies, generally the rate of knowledge is increasing much faster than humanity can assimilate the knowledge. Another way to think about this is if our intelligence is a measure of how much we understand versus what’s available to be understood, you can clearly conclude that everyone is becoming less knowledgeable because we can’t keep up with the rate of learning versus that of the knowledge that is being generated. Ultimately, we are all becoming less knowledgeable every day.

So what does the average employee do in response to the staggering increase of available knowledge in the world?

One approach is to understand more about less, which means developing deeper expertise in fewer areas that are important to our rooms in the marketplace. A complementary approach is to discover or develop better ways of maintaining continuous education.

Q2.      How does the average employee use all of the knowledge being created to help them become more knowledgeable?

In today’s digital world we can buy almost anything online and so it’s true that continuing education is widely available to students across almost any discipline. However, like many things in the digital world, information is too much available to be useful in a simple way. You can answer almost any single question by “Googling it” but this does not constitute learning, although the Internet is a very powerful tool for an employee to use in proactively managing their own continuing education.

Q3.      How do I use the Internet to manage my own continuing education?

Critical success factors for using the Internet to facilitate your continuing education are to be focused on what you need to learn, finding instructors with an educated point of view on that topic that are also capable of delivering the material in a manner that is readily learned at a reasonable cost. Further, these topics need to be customized so they can be self-taught online using techniques aligned with the way the student prefers to learn. While there are many courses available online, very few proactively consider the basic learning methods common among most people tailoring their materials in such a way that they’re effective for the largest group of students. These factors make many online courses less than effective for most students.

Q4.      How will I access this continuing education in both an effective and efficient manner?

The first step is to identify what specifically you need to learn and at what depth of understanding is required. Online education is most effective for students who know very little about the material where

a basic understanding provides significant value. Once this baseline of knowledge has been established, then the student can pursue alternative approaches to expand and deepen that initial knowledge base.

Once the topic has been identified, the student must find a provider that is sensitive to their learning methods and can provide material that is easily understood, readily absorbed, and remembered in such a way that it can be used in the workplace to create value. This content delivery must be very professional and readily accessed in a manner that is “Evergreen.” An “Evergreen” course means that the content is available perpetually so the student can review it as often as required for them to demonstrate learning.

Q5.      How much will this cost me or my firm?

Finally, the student and the employer need to consider the cost of developing this learning and the potential value it creates for the firm. Since the value created is situational, pricing strategies will need to be customized to the development, delivery costs, and the potential difficulty of using alternative methods to provide this kind of education. However, given that this content will be a holistic blend of theory and real-world experiences, the value is going to be significant because it greatly closes the gap between theory often taught in academic institution and the real world where value is created. If you compare an average college course where each credit hour is approximately $1000, most courses delivered online would be in the $3000 to $5000 range per 3-hour course without considering opportunity costs, such as customer dissatisfaction, poor employee performance and morale, and generally higher operational costs for lower employee efficiency.

Disclaimer – Legal Information Is Not Legal Advice

This course provides information related to the law and lawyers designed to help students learn about intellectual property strategy and their potential legal needs. This course does not provide legal advice and VentureForge, LLC is not a law firm. We are not lawyers and do not provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you find and consult an appropriate lawyer for your intellectual property legal needs.

Intellectual Property Creating Competitive Advantage

Click  here to enroll in Intellectual Property Creating Competitive Advantage

Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy: Creating Competitive Advantage, is a 3.5-hour course that educates Founders/Entrepreneurs on a proven, practical framework for identifying and protecting Intellectual Property.

While IP is critically important to Innovators and Founders working to transform into Entrepreneurs it is often not high on the Founder/Innovator agenda and can be lost in the chaos of other activities. Founders/Innovators are struggling with multiple tasks from securing customers, managing demanding lead users, generating revenue and eventually profit, satisfying investors while raising new funds, recruiting, hiring and retaining key employees, and so forth. The one critical success factor often de-emphasized in this chaotic mix is IP.

Key benefits include:

  1. Significant increase in valuation of business by protecting IP and creating exit opportunities.
  1. Decrease in the risk to Entrepreneur/Investor investment.

Once you have completed this course you can have an informed discussion with your team and IP professionals (lawyers, tech transfer office). VentureForge will shortly be releasing a follow-on course called “The Intellectual Property Toolkit” that outlines a framework to use in creation of a practical IP strategy.

Intellectual Property Toolkit:

Click here to enroll in Intellectual Property Toolkit 

Intellectual Property: A Practical Diagnostic Framework, is a 1.5-hour course that educates Founders/Entrepreneurs on a proven, practical framework for identifying and protecting Intellectual Property.

Intellectual property is a critical element of every firm’s valuation which strongly suggests that the firm have a methodology for diagnosing its intellectual property condition and responding to it appropriately. Often, this diagnosis is a left to the legal department when it should be an integral part of the business operation. The Venture Forge IP analysis methodology is an approach that can be used with any firm providing the firm is willing to customize it given their business context. Our method is fractal meaning it that some of the method recognizes factors common to any firms situation such as which IP tools are available to the firm – every firm has the same tools available to them. The method then addresses those factors that are unique to the firm or situational. Combining what’s fractal with what’s situational leads to an approach that can yield a competitive advantage.

Managing Conflict:

Click here to enroll in Managing Conflict

A key question that every leader needs to answer is this: Is conflict good or bad for the organization? The answer is “It depends.” When asked: “Is conflict good?” the most likely response would be “no” for a variety of reasons. Conflict impedes progress while it consumes resources, takes time, has the potential of damaging relationships and future outcomes, and so grows the list. In reality conflict is a necessary prerequisite for excellence. Interestingly, managing conflict is a daily event for everyone and often conducted without formal knowledge, which suggests that everyone learns by doing to some extent. This informal, experience- based knowledge must be recognized and built upon using formal methods.

Effectively managing conflict involves two general themes: Knowing what skills are required and what behaviors must be avoided, combined with firsthand experience. These skills can be described, and even taught, but experience must be obtained.

This course has 6 parts describing what the student should understand and be able to accomplish upon completion of the course. The “Learning Objectives” are supported by describing the critical elements of managing conflict, followed by a treatment of classical approaches and finishing with “nuanced methods” and “Tricks of the Trade.” The Classical Methods differ from the “Tricks of the Trade” in that they’re more aligned with what’s been described in the literature as effective. The “Tricks of the Trade” are those skills that have been proven effective by experience but are not often described anywhere. Finally, the course will be summarized with key take away items that each student should focus on using in managing conflict.

Much has been written in the literature about successfully managing conflict, often addressing concepts such as creating a cooperative environment, avoiding unnecessary conflict, selecting communication techniques, dealing with an angry employee, reducing the scale of the conflict, managing emotions and situations, recognizing the role of arbitration, and so on. Generally, these are the required starting points before attempting a professional resolution. What are the critical elements for effectively managing conflict?

Understand how to use the 6 desired skill levels for managing conflict effectively.

Skillfully avoiding overusing these desired levels.

Recognize the consequences of being unskilled in managing conflict.

Learn several “Tricks of the Trade” such as, knowing yourself, your state of mind, the situation. Understanding the reason or source of the conflict. Giving each party the benefit of the doubt and creating options for progress to a resolution.

Generating respect requires both parties to avoid creating additional conflict through the poor selection of words, body language, tones of voice, and so on where one or both parties feel demeaned or disrespected. Often, “conflict creating” behavior is unrecognized by those displaying it and as such, a careful self-analysis is required to avoid it from happening. Key to any analysis is an introspective look at our inner feelings and how these are projected. A successful conflict resolution begins with leaders knowing themselves well and how they will respond (not react) to emotional situations.