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My Public Affairs

DJ Lance and the After Action Review

The following was first published on Blogger in 2011

DJ Lance would make a nifty Soldier. If you don’t know who he is, you are missing out on one of the most captivating and entertaining characters on all of Nick Jr.

I was watching “Yo Gabba Gabba!” with my brother-in-law the other day when…what’s that? Why was I watching? Oh, my little boy was really the one watching it and we just happened to be in the room.

Anyway, I don’t need to justify it, the show is hilarious in a psychedelic, creepy sort of way.

The one we saw featured guest Jack Black, who rode into the diorama set on a talking, flying motorcycle. He made friends with the Gabba creatures who defy all logic with their fraternal powers and ability to talk without moving their mouths.

At the end of the show, the human host, DJ Lance (who is 1000 times bigger than guest Jack Black), asked the friends to remember what they did that day. A brief montage of the episode’s highlights ensued.

My brother-in-law, by the way, was even more entranced than my son. But he’s an officer, so he’s easily mesmerized by bright colors and loud noises. He said he liked the AAR.

The AAR, or After Action Review, is one thing the Army gets right. After each mission or training exercise, Soldiers at every level conduct a review of all its phases.

According to the Army, an AAR is to be open, honest, inclusive, positive, and should relate to learning and training standards. It has four main components:

1. A review of what was supposed to happen
2. An explanation of what did happen
3. A description of what went well
4. A critique of what could be done better

The AAR, done properly, is elegant in its simplicity. It is also a very powerful component of learning. Effective teachers who spend just a few minutes on the four steps will see noticeable achievement gains over those who merely assume that what was intended to happen did, in fact, happen.

Leaders see things from an entirely different perspective from their subordinates. The latter need to explain it from their point of view in order to grasp what they need to do and know. Leaders need to improve as well; to become better at their tasks and to make training more effective for their underlings.

I love the AAR.

Even more than my brother-in-law loves “Yo Gabba Gabba.”



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