Better Instructional Design Using Periodic Table of eLearning

June 16, 2021
4 minutes
Better Instructional Design Using Periodic Table of eLearning

There was once a day that instructional designers only selected ONE method of content delivery.  Those days are long gone.  With today's technology there are many, many, more options.  

As new technologies came along the industry began to call it blended learning solutions.  

But how do we decide which elements to choose?  

This is where The Periodic Table of eLearning Elements – created by this week’s guest Brian Washburn – can help.  

Brian's model offers a simple yet elegant periodic table of learning elements modeled on the original periodic table of chemical properties.  

The elements are organized into solids, liquids, gases, radioactive, and interactive categories similar to their chemical cousins – metaphors for the tools and strategies of the field of learning design.  

Brian tells us how he first came up with the idea (hint, it involves corndogs!) and how it evolved into a blog post then an article published by ATD and now most recently into a new book just published by ATD, What’s Your Formula?  

So check out the recording for a fun and informative conversation around the elements and how we can all apply them to our eLearning designs.  

To see all the comments from the chat, check out the full session right here.  

And to ask more questions, or participate in extended conversations about this episode, please join us in the IDIODC LinkedIn Group.  

You can also sign up for our next episode, Customer Experience: Another Option for Instructional Designers with Melissa Milloway. Save your spot now!  

About Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn is the co-founder and CEO of Endurance Learning, a boutique instructional design firm that creates instructor-led and elearning courses with the vision that every training program should be engaging and lead to change. Brian has been preaching the merits of effective, participant-centered training design for two decades and his company recently launched an online tool named Soapbox to help people put together engaging training sessions within minutes.

Brian has led training departments in several nonprofit organizations where he has worked on initiatives to improve the foster care system and to cure blindness. He was named a top young trainer by Training magazine in 2011, holds a Masters degree in Organizational Development and currently serves as the President-elect of ATD Puget Sound.


Instructional Designers in Offices Drinking Coffee (affectionately known as IDIODC) is a weekly live videocast and podcast that helps instructional designers with pain points and provides best practices and industry insight.  

Every Wednesday morning at 10am ET hosts Brent Schlenker and Chris Van Wingerden guide us through an upbeat and candid conversation with their guests from the elearning and training world. The live cast session encourages peers to participate in the chat and share their own personal insight! After airing live, you can catch the learning podcast on all major streams such as Spotify, Apple and Google Play podcasts, as well as on YouTube.

IDIODC is a Top 40 Hit!

We could have been #1 but chair dancing was not a judged element. But no matter, we’re just happy to be selected. Check out this amazingly short press release: “IDIODC was selected as one of the Top 40 Learning and Development Podcasts on the web.”

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