After-Action Reviews and Long-Term Performance: An Experimental Examination in the Context of an Emergency Simulation

Gonzalo J. Muñoz, Diego A. Cortéz, Constanza B. Álvarez, Juan A. Raggio, Antonia Concha, Francisca I. Rojas, Winfred Arthur, Bastián M. Fischer, Sebastián Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The present study examined the effectiveness of after-action reviews (AARs; also known as debriefing) in mitigating skill decay. Background: Research on the long-term effectiveness of AARs is meager. To address this gap in the literature, we conducted an experimental study that also overcomes some research design issues that characterize the limited extant research. Method: Eighty-four participants were randomly assigned to an AAR or non-AAR condition and trained to operate a PC-based fire emergency simulator. During the initial acquisition phase, individuals in the AAR condition were allowed to review their performance after each practice session, whereas individuals in the non-AAR condition completed a filler task. About 12 weeks later, participants returned to the lab to complete four additional practice sessions using a similar scenario (i.e., the retention and reacquisition phase). Results: The performance of participants in the AAR condition degraded more after nonuse but also recovered faster than the performance of participants in the non-AAR condition, although these effects were fairly small and not statistically significant. Conclusion: Consistent with the limited research on the long-term effectiveness of AARs, our findings failed to support their effectiveness as a decay-prevention intervention. Because the present study was conducted in a laboratory setting using a relatively small sample of undergraduate students, additional research is warranted. Application: Based on the results of the present study, we suggest some additional strategies that trainers might consider to support long-term skill retention when using AARs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-778
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Factors
Volume64
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • after-action reviews
  • debriefing
  • mitigating loss
  • skill decay
  • training

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