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Preparing to win
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Front-line stories of Emergent Learning disciplines

Since the look and feel of Emergent Learning disciplines varies widely to match an organization’s needs and culture, the best way to understand them is through examples of real-world challenges and solutions:

The U.S. Army: Preparing units to win the first battle of the next war

For 20 years, the After Action Review has been at the heart of the learning process at the National Training Center (NTC), the Army’s premiere Combat Training Center. The Army's combat units rotate in to spend two weeks "in the box" at the NTC — conducting intensive, highly realistic combat scenarios, complete with artillery and air support, and urban civilian engagement scenarios with insurgents and paramilitary forces.

Scenarios are each preceded by thorough planning and rehearsal, starting with mission, commander’s intent and end-state, and followed by layers of After Action Review meetings that start at the platoon level and roll up the ranks to top level command. The unit leaders compare their intent, predictions and tactical choices with the actual results at each of these AAR meetings. This process develops lessons to be applied in planning for the next day’s scenario, appropriate to the scope of each level of command. The NTC provides dedicated observers, who work with senior commanders to select appropriate challenges to focus on in advance of each scenario, and then gather data in those areas to report as part of the “Ground Truth” in the AAR meetings that follow.

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