Periodic Table of eLearning

Attention blog readers: Please note this blog post is from early 2019 when Brian first created the Periodic Table of Amazing Learning Experiences. And because we rarely get things perfect the first time we do them, he’s made some changes since the original post. You can find out about my new and current table of 51 Elements of Amazing Learning Experiences and hear all about it here.

Brian introduced the periodic table of learning. In his post, he discussed this table from an instructor-led training perspective. Training isn’t isolated to instructor-led training (ILT) programs and I thought it might be fun to look at the application of the Elements of Amazing Learning Experiences from as the Period Table of eLearning.


Solid eLearning Elements

Periodic Table of eLearning: SolidsLike all instructional design, we use elements like Word (Wd), Google (Gg), and a lesson plan (Lp) in eLearning design, and that shouldn’t change. Some of the solid elements that are common to live instructor-led training have to be thought of differently when approaching eLearning. Most of our development takes place in element 27 Storyline (St), and you need to be creative if you want to have an interaction that would look like sticky notes (Pi), voting dots (Vd), or a Flipchart (Fc). With sound instructional design and development, it can be done.

Liquid ElementsPeriodic Table of eLearning: Liquids

The liquid portion of this table applies across the board to every type of learning. Yeah, that is a big statement. But here is the rub, the liquid elements take the shape of the vessel into which they are poured. ILT, Virtual ILT, eLearning, performance support, etc.… this portion of the table is critical for all types of training.

Like all training, eLearning needs buy-in from supervisors (Su), benefits from assessment (As) and follow-up (Fu) and sees advantages to programs that include microlearning (Ms), goal setting (Gs), spaced learning (Sl), learning boots (Lb).

Gas-like Elements

Periodic Table of eLearning: Gas

Gas -like elements waft through eLearning differently than they do through a training room. ADDIE (Ad) guides instructional design (Id) for adult learning (Al) and there may be some gamification (Gm), but that is approached carefully because that one can be combustible. Concepts like Venn Diagrams (Vd) can be used in eLearning, but creativity should be used in the approach so it doesn’t seem cheesy.

Radioactive Elements

Like ILT, the radioactive elements should be handled with care in eLearning (eL), which Periodic Table of eLearning: Radioactiveso happens to be element 32. There are several eLearning equivalents to element 5 Lecture (Lc), including a lot of screen text, a long, talking-head video, a long video with no animation, or a course with no interaction.

Role play (Rp) in elearning often takes the form of more limited scenarios that help learners take on a persona and practice a new skill. They are generally more limited in elearning but incredibly valuable.

Many of the other radioactive elements are not applicable to eLearning mainly because of logistics. At least I haven’t come up with ways to include snacks (Sn), table toys (Tt)

Interactive Elements

I see the interactive elements as being leveraged in eLearning similarly to any other training program. Taking your learning experience to social media and discussing it with others who have had it, no matter what media you took it through, is a great way to keep the learning going.

Periodic Table of eLearning: Interactive

Soapbox (Sb) is element 1 on the Periodic Table. Fill out the form to learn more about how to apply this powerful tool to your next presentation.

5 thoughts on “Periodic Table of eLearning

  1. With so many different vehicles for delivering instruction now, it is very easy to take a traditional public school classroom and blend it with technology. As a teacher, one strategy that I utilize for some lessons is to flip it, with my students doing a form of eLearning at home, allowing for more in-depth discussion and assignment work in the classroom. With that being said, what direction do you think we are headed from an educational standpoint? With advances that are on the way, such as virtual reality and simulation based training, the possibilities are endless.

    • We’re big fan’s of Bloom too (element #39 on the table is “Learning Objective Taxonomy” which we made more generic than Bloom because there are several folks who have added to Bloom’s original taxonomy)!

      • As a high school educator, it always surprises me how new technologies are being introduced that enable us to reach our students in a different way. The days of having a traditional “sit and get” classroom are over, as I am able to blend my classroom, or even flip my classroom, by having my students utilize e-learning at home, to enable us to have deeper discussion or assignment work in the classroom. I have a friend who is a college-level educator, and they were talking to me a few days ago about how they are sending virtual reality set-ups to their students and then allowing them to do situation-based training. There are so many possibilities for the future, what do you think is in store for the future of learning and education?

      • Excellent question.
        I really like the idea of the flipped classroom, although I don’t get to use it a ton in professional development. I am working on one right now that serves as an introduction to in-person training, but also stands on its own as a quick overview when people don’t have the immediate bandwidth to attend the in-person training. I think this a key to these types of eLearning, that they can stand on their own but also make in-person training more effective. That should be built into the objectives of both courses.
        I see a lot of use for VR and AR, probably more for the latter. I worry we get too excited about technology (this coming from a self-admitted computer geek) and try to use it as the proverbial hammer seeing everything as a nail. That said, I think the best applications for education will be to gain skills that require real experience where the risk/cost can be reduced in a virtual environment like Phlebotomy or other medical procedures, mechanical skills (computer hardware, car, etc), and many other technical skills, along with that, younger folks may have an opportunity for gross and fine motor skill development in various ways. The possibilities are huge, but we need to make sure the virtual environment is advantageous over real experince, and often I see these as blended to gain all of the skills.
        The eLearning Guild is doing a great job of keeping a thumb on this industry with their Realities 360 conference and on their blog. If you aren’t already a member, I recommend becoming one. They have a free membership, and their community on their site and Twitter have great insights to these questions.

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