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
For 20 years, the After
Action Review has been at the heart of the learning process at the
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