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An after action report
is any form of retrospective
Retrospective generally means to take a look back at events that already have taken place. For example, the term is used in medicine, describing a look back at a patient's medical history or lifestyle.-Music:...
analysis on a given sequence of goal-oriented actions previously undertaken, generally by the author himself.
The two principal forms of AARs are the literary AAR, intended for recreational use, and the analytical AAR, exercised as part of a process of performance evaluation
Performance Evaluation is an international journal published by Elsevier. The current Editor-in-chief is Philippe Nain. The journal was previously published by North-Holland Publisher.-Editors:*1981–1986 Hisashi Kobayashi*1987–1990 Martin Reiser...
and improvement, while in most cases AARs are a combination of both.
The first AARs were developed by army generals. One of the first and best examples of an AAR is Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....
’s “Commentaries on the Gallic War”.
Contemporary examples of AARs include project evaluations in business
A business is an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers. Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, where most of them are privately owned and administered to earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. Businesses may also be not-for-profit...
, as well as summaries of large gaming sessions in videogame culture.
Analytical AARs are formal documents, intended to serve as aids to performance evaluation and improvement, by registering situation-response interactions, analysing critical procedures, determining their effectiveness and efficiency, and proposing adjustments and recommendations.
Analytical AARs have three central objectives:
- Identifying problematic issues and needs for improvement
- Proposing measures to counteract problematic elements
- Obtaining “lessons learned”1
- Goals and objectives
- Analysis of outcomes
- Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks
- Lessons Learned From School Crises and Emergencies Vol. 2, Issue 1, 2007