Research Project LO27401

From: Richard Karash (
Date: 10/13/01

Replying to LO27368 --

Sarah asked:

>Also, I have heard rumors that the US Army is attempting to convert into a
>Learning Organization. Does anyone know if this is true? How the hell are
>they planning on doing this?! Do you know where I could find specific
>And info you might know of would be interesting and helpful. Thanks!


First, I'll have to admit that when I first heard Peter Senge mention the
U.S. Army as a learning organization, my reaction was "what...?"

Since then, I have come to respect the Army as one of the very best
examples of system-wide continuous learning at a very operational level.
Their "After Action Review" process (or "AAR") is well known and has been
examined by a number of people in our field. Several corporate members of
the Society for Organizational Learning have adopted the AAR method and
have developed people with capacity to facilitate this method. None are
using it as widely as the Army.

In my own informal tests, when I meet current or former Army people, I
ask, "Have you participated in an After Action Review." The answer is,
"Yes, many times."

The method is simple, but like any strong tool there are subtleties. It
would be a valuable discussion here on learning-org and I'll start the

My good friend and colleague Marilyn Darling has done an extensive
research project with the US Army to examine the evolution of the After
Action Review. She has a free summary and offers a detailed paper on the

(Marilyn's "Emergent Learning Map" process is her own development and is
closely aligned with the essentials of the AAR... There is information on
Marilyn's SignetConsulting site above.)

Hope this is helpful.

   -=- Rick


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