Left to My Own Devices

I find being unplugged for a week is liberating, leading to increased creativity and decreased stress.


When I go on vacation, I completely disconnect. I do not check e-mail. I do not call in for voicemail. I do not surf the ’Net. This is my way of recharging my batteries—both internally and on my devices. I find being unplugged for a week is liberating, leading to increased creativity and decreased stress—right up until the minute I turn my computer back on and find 500 e-mails in my in-box!

But apparently I’m in the minority when it comes to our love affair with technology. It seems most people can’t put it on the back burner, even for a brief time. In fact, some 52 percent of Americans worked while on vacation this year vs. 46 percent last year, according to a survey of more than 1,300 American adults age 18 and older by remote computer access company TeamViewer and pollster Harris Interactive. This included 30 percent who spent time reading work-related e-mails, 23 percent who took work-related phone calls, and 18 percent who received work-related text messages.

Interestingly enough, though, this use of personal devices for work can lead to problems, particularly security problems. In “Hack Attack,” we look at the threat posed by employees using mobile devices and their home computers to access the corporate network remotely. This often leads to corporate data being stored on these devices and accessible by cyber thieves. Find out more about much-needed cybersecurity training strategies in “Hack Attack.”

While wrestling with security issues and hardware and software costs, some organizations have turned to training “in the cloud”—a learning management system (LMS) based on a platform that exists on the Web, doesn’t require hardware or software, and enables learner access anywhere any time. “What we call E-Learning 1.0 is severely limited by a browser using local computing resources,” says Tom Graunke, chairman and CEO of IT training company StormWind. “Cloud services open up an enterprise-level of resources unlike any we’ve seen in the past. The result is what we call E-Learning 2.0, which provides high quality and a huge experience upgrade over what’s been offered in the past.” See “Cloud Control” for more on training in the cloud, plus a case study on cloud-based coaching.

Rounding out this technology-themed issue is our special section on Games & Simulations. Discover how the evolution of gamification and multiplayer online games is ramping up organizational interest and learner engagement. Learn about teaching leadership and team dynamics via a simulation based on a tragic Mt. Everest climb in “View from the Top.” And see how medical technology company Medtronics, Inc., is using simulations to foster high-potential teamwork and train on a new medical device.

This is a perfect lead-in to our Learning 3.0 Conference, being held October 24-25 in Chicago. There, we’ll explore how the coming changes in Relationships, Reach, and Robots will transform how we design, develop, and deliver learning (see p. 66 for more).

On a sad note, we bid farewell to a beloved figure in the training industry: Dr. Stephen Covey, who passed away at the age of 79. See “In Covey We Trust” for a tribute to the man who inspired us all.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training Top 100 and Emerging Training Leaders.