Knowledge Management – Learning in Doing – Facilitating an After Action Review

The introduction of a learning culture in organizations can sometimes be difficult, especially if the effort is not large and the benefits are can not be identified so quickly.

After checking the specified actions (such as AARs) are one of the simplest knowledge management techniques and have been very successful in organizations that use by the U.S. Army, BP, and even in the field of development NGOs like Tearfund. Their power comes from the fact that they have little time to benefit,to generate rapid results, and the concept is easy to learn and repeat. In summary, it must be, they have a "low barrier to entry."

How you can conduct AAR?

Activity reports are an easy way for individuals and teams to know immediately, from both successes and failures, regardless of the length of the task in question. Learning is by the team for the team. The format is very simple and quick exercise – have a "pencil and paper or flip chart. In an open and honest meeting, usually no morethan twenty minutes, each participant of the event answers four simple questions:

What should happen was it?
What actually happened?
Why were there differences?
What can we learn from this?

The following guidelines are taken from the book "Learning to Fly – Practical knowledge management from leading and learning organizations pulled?" (Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell), and are the most important steps to facilitate an effective After ActionReview.

1. Hold the AAR immediately. Annual activity reports will be implemented immediately, while all participants are still available, and their memories are fresh. Learning can then be used immediately, even the next day.

2. Create the right climate. The ideal climate for an AAR to be successful is one of openness and commitment to learning. Everyone should be in an atmosphere free from the concept of rank or seniority. Activity reports, reviews or audits instead of learning events.You certainly should not be treated as a personal performance evaluation. The U.S. military described an environment in which "your pin-stripes on the wall" before a AAR.

3. Appoint a moderator. The coordinator of an AAR is not there to "give" answers, but to learn to help the team to "answers. The learning needs to be extracted, both from the individual and for the group? S learning.

4. Questions: "What should happen?" The facilitator should begin by the event in discreteNeed to have activities, each of which has (or should!) An identifiable goals and action plan. The discussion needs to happen, beginning with the first question: "What was?"

5. Questions: "What really happened? That is, the team must understand and accept the facts about what has happened. Facts – not opinions. Remember, the goal is to identify a problem or learning point – not a doer!

6. Now compare the plan with reality. The real learning begins, as the team of teams compared to the plan,what actually happened in reality and determines "Why were there differences?" and "What have we learned?" Identify and discuss successes and shortcomings. Square wants to put into action to get the achievements and improve on the shortcomings.

7. Note the main points. Add the main elements of an AAR (initially on a flip chart) clarifies what happened and comparing it with, what should happen. It facilitates the sharing of learning within the team and forms the basis for abroader program of lifelong learning in the organization.

That's all there is to it. Why not build an AAR in the agenda of the next great team, training event, negotiation or project review meeting? You will be amazed at how quickly you learn, not what you know to be surprised.

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