Press Release

Periodic Table of Learning Elements Helps Trainers Create More Effective Development Programs


(Alexandria, VA) June 29, 2021—In What’s Your Formula? Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training (ATD Press, June 2021), L&D expert Brian Washburn introduces a fresh, memorable, and fun way for trainers to develop effective training programs by using a periodic table of learning elements. Similar in concept to a periodic table of chemical properties, Washburn’s table includes more than 50 elements of innovative tools and time-tested strategies in the field of learning design, all organized into solids, liquids, gases, radioactive elements, and interactive elements.

Periodic Table From What’s Your Formula? Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training

The periodic table of learning elements encourages trainers to combine elements to find the right balance of adult learning theory, available technology, intuitive tools, proven practices, creativity, and risk when creating and delivering training. Washburn explains, “The point of this table is to offer up tools and strategies that, when combined under certain conditions, have the potential to create amazing learning experiences for your participants. They are that impactful. You just need to know how to harness their dynamic properties, and that’s what this book can help you do.”

Elements like Microsoft Word (Wd) and PowerPoint (Pp) have been around for a long time; others like Soapbox (Sb) and Augmented Reality (Ar) have only recently been discovered. Washburn points out that his table, like the chemical periodic table, will likely be updated over time to reflect newly discovered elements.

“Whether you’re new to the field of learning and development or you’ve been doing this for years, I hope the way in which this table is organized can inspire new ideas and ways to organize the design of your learning programs. How you choose to string together some of these elements of amazing learning experiences—the way in which you ‘find your formula’ for a specific learning program—is often much more art than science.”

Washburn insists that trainers incorporate evidence-based practices as much as possible. When working with humans (unlike working with chemicals in a laboratory), though, making sure to mix the science of learning with the art of learning experience design will be important. That’s how this book can be most helpful.

About the Author


Brian Washburn is the co-founder and CEO of Endurance Learning, a boutique instructional design firm specializing in creative and unique instructor-led or e-learning programs for clients ranging from nonprofit organizations to major Fortune 500 companies. Brian has led training teams that have been charged with world-changing missions ranging from ensuring every foster child has a safe and permanent home to eliminating corneal blindness around the globe.

Immersed in learning and development, teaching, and corporate training for more than 20 years, his love for instructional design began as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, where he discovered the joys of finding ways to engage participants and using flipcharts to generate dynamic visual aids. He was named a Top Young Trainer by Training magazine, has served as the president of the ATD Puget Sound chapter, and can be found through his Train Like a Champion blog. He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his two children and four fish.

About ATD and ATD Press
The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD Press publications are written by industry thought leaders and offer anyone who works with adult learners the best practices, academic theory, and guidance necessary to move the profession forward. For more information, visit


What’s Your Formula? Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training
ISBN: 9781952157479 | 248 Pages | Paperback
To order books from ATD Press, call 800.628.2783.

To schedule an interview with Brian Washburn, please contact Kay Hechler, ATD Press senior marketing manager, at [email protected] or 703.683.8178.

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