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How can I develop Lessons Learned from an After Action Report?  
The purpose of an After Action Report is to provide an outline of the steps taken to plan a specific event or activity and typically includes a summary of how successful the event or activity was. The After Action Report serves as an historical record for the organization and also provides information for future planners of this activity (for example, if it is an annual event). Particularly in a military community where organizational leaders tend to transition every year or so, an After Action Report can provide enough information to allow a newcomer to organize an event without 'starting from scratch.' Furthermore, Lessons Learned can be extracted from the experiences documented in an After Action Report. For example, one might learn that although an event was very well-received by those who attended it, perhaps the marketing of the event wasn't enough to attract more people. The lesson learned here might be to explore different options for publicizing the event, including the timing of the publicity, the variety of marketing tools and resources used, and budget allocated to marketing. Recognize both the value of information in an After Action Report, but don't let it prevent you from exploring new ideas. Develop Lessons Learned from an After Action Report and use this information to help you explore options for improving the event or activity the next time.
Keywords: AAR, Reports

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