The Trainer's Handbook, Second Edition
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Karen Lawson, Ph.D., is an international consultant, speaker, and author. As founder and president of Lawson Consulting Group Inc., she has built a successful consulting firm specializing in organization and management development. She has extensive consulting and workshop experience in the areas of management, team development, communication, and quality service across a wide range of industries, including financial services, pharmaceutical, health care, telecommunications, government, and non-profit organizations.
In her consulting work with Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses, she uses her experience and knowledge of human relations to help leaders at all levels make a difference in their organizations. She has held many key leadership positions in professional organizations, including the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) and the National Speakers Association (NSA). She has also received numerous professional awards for her contribution to the training profession.
Dr. Lawson holds a doctorate in adult and organizational development from Temple University. She earned her MA from the University of Akron and BA from Mount Union College. She is also a graduate of the National School of Banking in Fairfield, Connecticut.
She is the author of The Art of Influencing, Improving Workplace Performance Through Coaching, Improving On-the-Job Training and Coaching, Skill Builders: 50 Communications Skills Activities, New Employee Orientation Training, and Involving Your Audience—Make It Active. She is the co-author of 101 Ways to Make Training Active (1st ed.) and has published dozens of articles in professional journals. She has presented at many regional and national professional conferences and is on the adjunct faculty of several colleges and universities.


List of Tables, Exhibits, and Figures.

Contents of the CD-ROM.



1. Assessing Needs.

Learning Outcomes.

Understanding the Needs Assessment Process.

Needs-Assessment Process.

How to Conduct a Needs Assessment.

Developing an Action Plan.

Assessing Participants’ Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills.

Key Points.

2. Understanding Adult Learners.

Learning Outcomes.

Andragogical Versus Pedagogical Model.

Understanding How and Why People Learn.

Learning Styles.

Application of Learning Principles.

Key Points.

3. Training Styles.

Learning Outcomes.

Trainer Characteristics and Competencies.

Training Style.

Increasing Effectiveness.

Learner-Centered Versus Information-Centered.

Key Elements of a Trainer’s Style.

Key Points.

4. Understanding Today’s Learner.

Learning Outcomes.

The Changing Training Environment.


Diversity Issues.

Key Points.

5. Writing Instructional Objectives.

Learning Outcomes.

What Are Learning Objectives?

Writing Learning Objectives.

Key Points.

6. Writing an Instructional Plan.

Learning Outcomes.

Design Philosophy.

Time Needed to Develop a Training Program.

Cost Considerations.

Major Components of Design.

Creating a Design Matrix.

Purpose of an Instructional Plan.

Components of an Instructional Plan.

Instructional Methods.

Developing Materials.

Key Points.

7. Selecting, Designing, and Developing Active-Training Methods.

Learning Outcomes.

The Case for Active Training.

Cooperative Learning.

Creating an Active-Learning Environment.

Designing Active-Training Activities.

Common Methods and Materials.

Experiential Learning Activities.

Action Learning.

Key Points.

8. Delivering Training.

Learning Outcomes.

Creating a Positive Learning Environment.

Experiential and Active-Training Techniques.

Tips for Using Specific Methods.

Improving Platform Presence.

Key Points.

9. Using Visual Aids.

Learning Outcomes.

Retention Rate in Visual Learning.

Why Use Visual Aids?

Guidelines for Using Visual Aids.

Other Commonly Used Visual Aids.

Key Points.

10. Distance Learning.

Learning Outcomes.

Workplace Trends.

Advantages/Benefits of Distance Learning.

Disadvantages/Drawbacks to Distance Learning.

Types of Distance Learning.

Guidelines for Designing Distance Learning.

Designing and Developing Activities.

Delivering Content and Activities.

Blended Learning.

Key Points.

11.Working with Groups.

Learning Outcomes.

The Trainer as Facilitator.

Ways to Encourage Participation.

The Art of Questioning.

Responding to Questions.

Scaling the Wall of Resistance.

Problem Situations.

Key Points.

12. Using Creativity.

Learning Outcomes.

Creativity with Small Groups.

Props and Other Theatrical Techniques.


Creative Closings.

Key Points.

13. Evaluating Training.

Learning Outcomes.

Why Evaluate?

When to Evaluate.

Whom to Involve.

How to Evaluate.

What to Evaluate.

Four-Level Model for Evaluation.

Participant Evaluation and Accountability for e-Learning.

Accountability for Training.

Significance of the Evaluation Process.

Key Points.

14. The Business of Consulting: Internal and External.

Learning Outcomes.

The Changing Role of the Trainer.

Understanding the Client-Consultant Relationship.

Selecting an External Consultant.

Follow-Up Reports.

Key Points.

Appendix A: Answers to Exercises.

Appendix B: Recommended Resources.

Appendix C: Criteria for Selecting Packaged Programs.



About the Author.

How to Use the CD-ROM.


"My recipe for a great lesson design is two parts content development and one part Trainer’s Handbook.  I always find something I can use in this great, and much used, reference book."
—Steve Sugar, coauthor, Games That Boost Performance

"From the initial needs assessment right on through to final evaluation, Karen Lawson's newest book has it all! You'll learn from a ‘master’ of our trade. Karen's pragmatic approach to this ever-changing field will clearly enhance and enliven your next training program."
—Edward E. Scannell, past National president, ASTD, and coauthor, Games Trainers Play series