In this issue:
- Summer Newsletter from Alelo
- VCAT News
- Alelo Receives JFCOM Contract Award to Develop VCAT Afghanistan
- VCAT Northern Africa
- goEnglish Tops 40,000 Registered Users
- Alelo Introduces Its Virtual Role Player for DoD’s Future Immersive Training Environment
- OLCTS Developments
- New and Improved in Record Time: ISLET-MP
- Trainee Testimonials
- Events on the Alelo Calendar
Summer 2010 Newsletter
As the summer months heat up in the northern hemisphere, many people are taking time out for vacations and relaxing with their families. At this time of the year, it’s only right that Alelo uses some summer shade to take a moment to pause and reflect upon Alelo’s recent successes due, in large part, to the support of our growing community of trainees and trainers.
In this edition of the Alelo newsletter, we announce receiving an award to develop the Virtual Cultural Awareness Trainer – Afghanistan (VCAT - AF), completion of the Virtual Cultural Awareness Trainer - Northern Africa (VCAT - NA), the success of the goEnglish language learning website, the Future Immersive Training Environment – Virtual Role Player (FITE-VRP) demonstration, improvements to the Operational Language and Culture Training System (OLCTS), and the new and improved Integrated System for Language Education and Training – Multiplayer (ISLET-MP). In the Testimonials Section, we also hear outstanding reviews from satisfied customers of Alelo products.
As always, thank you for your support!
Enjoy the sunshine,
Another VCAT Decoration: Alelo Receives JFCOM Contract Award to Develop VCAT Afghanistan
Alelo has again been recognized for its effective training modules with the recent award of a Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) contract to develop a Virtual Cultural Awareness Trainer for Afghanistan (VCAT-AF). VCAT-AF will provide language and cultural training for service members preparing for deployment in country. Adding to the acclaim of previous editions, the integrated language and cultural curriculum is the latest addition to the award-winning immersive programming found in the existing VCAT suite, which to date covers other regions of the world including the Horn of Africa and Northern Africa. Alelo and the Defense Language Institute (DLI) have partnered in the development of the language content for VCAT-AF.
Surveying the globe and providing service members with the most advanced language and cultural training is the trademark of Alelo and the JFCOM award ensures that we will continue to advance intelligence and operational efforts that are critical to the current war effort. Language and culture training found in VCAT-AF promises to increase language fluency and cultural awareness—two elements key to success at this important time in the ongoing mission to boost capacity in Afghanistan.
New Addition to VCAT Series: Alelo Completes the Virtual Cultural Awareness Trainer: Northern Africa
Alelo has completed the Virtual Cultural Awareness Trainer - Northern Africa (VCAT-NA). The language and culture trainer focuses on several countries including Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. Alelo enhanced VCAT-NA with language content provided by the Defense Language Institute. Languages covered in the trainer include: Arabic adapted for Egyptian, Moroccan and Tunisian variations, and French. Covering missions such as Civil Affairs, Security Co-operation, and Humanitarian Assistance, VCAT-NA is funded by United States Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) through Northrop Grumman (NGC).
The curriculum teaches cultural knowledge specific to Northern Africa in support of the mission of JFCOM. At the end of the course, trainees will have learned the most effective ways to complete missions in that region using culturally appropriate behaviors and key phrases. VCAT-NA will be available via Joint Knowledge Online in fall of 2010. This new offering expands Alelo’s array of country-specific language and culture training through its VCAT modules.
goEnglish Tops 40,000 Registered Users
Voice of America’s goEnglish website, which was built by Alelo, has recently exceeded 40,000 registered users. Launched in the spring of 2010, goEnglish.me is a free and interactive task-based American English learning program.
Targeted toward native speakers of Chinese and Farsi, the program consists of over 80 English lessons tailored to the learner’s level of ability: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The Farsi site has proven to be particularly popular, with over 30,000 registered users in Iran and elsewhere around the world.
The program integrates speech recognition, interactive virtual characters and engaging videos that deliver a high fidelity, media-rich learning environment. Registration is not required to use the goEnglish.me site, and in fact usage of the site by guest users far outweighs usage by registered users.
Coming soon is a goEnglish course geared toward native speakers of Russian, with other languages planned for future development.
The goEnglish website is available at http://www.goenglish.me. Go with Alelo to goEnglish!
Traversing the Future: Alelo Introduces Its Virtual Role Player for DoD’s Future Immersive Training Environment
Science fiction has become real at Alelo. Remember the famous scene from Star Wars when X was met by a hologram of Princess Leia? At the time when Star Wars hit the movie theaters in 1977, it seemed an impossibility to have life-sized virtual humans with whom to communicate. Now, the impossible has become possible, and it speaks Pashto!
Alelo was awarded a contract to deliver a Virtual Role Player (VRP) into the mixed reality simulation environment in the Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT), to be named Future Immersive Training Environment (FITE-VRP) demonstration. This innovative new program will feature a visually projected, life-size character in a simulation training room, and will be used with Bohemia Interactive’s VBS2 implementation. Pushing the boundaries between virtual and authentic reality, FITE-VRP will be a hologram-like character that can hold natural conversations with service members for language and culture training in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.
“The FITE-VRP demonstration offers a 360 degree immersive language and culture training environment where trainees can practice their skills prior to actual deployment. It saves training time and money, and more importantly it saves human capital by enabling full-scale interaction and engagement with a Virtual Role Player,” says Dr. Andre Valente, Alelo Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer. Transporting the service member into Afghani culture virtually, the FITE-VRP will demonstrate culturally appropriate gestures and animations to promote convincing realism within the simulated environment. The FITE-VRP demonstration is scheduled for release late this summer.
Upgrade: OLCTS Developments
Alelo has made several improvements to its Operational Language and Culture Training Systems (OLCTS) program this season. OLCTS is an integrated suite of training capabilities that span a range of training platforms, from desktop-based delivery to anytime, anywhere web-delivery via handheld devices that allow for multi-player immersive simulations.
OLCTS enhancements include reworked lessons to expand instruction beyond the current offering which is limited to the American nationality. With the revision, exercises, dialogs and scenarios have been enhanced to provide instruction for various nationalities. In addition, the NATO rank code has been added to the current US military rank names to be relevant to the NATO service members who will be trained by OLCTS.
Moreover, Alelo delivered releases of the Pashto and Dari Audiobooks that feature easily transportable audio versions of these language-training courses. The Pashto iPod Classic and Dari iPod Classic that offer mobile training on the iPod user interface have also been delivered. To further meet the on-the-go training needs of today’s armed forces, Pashto Portal and Bundled versions of Pashto, Iraqi and French are also being made available on the iPhone and iPod Touch. These mobile devices equipped with OLCTS modules facilitate greater accessibility of Alelo materials to aid in military training efforts worldwide.
New and Improved in Record Time: ISLET-MP
AlISLET-MP is a multiplayer language and culture learning game created using the Unity Game Engine. Similar to Alelo’s OLCTS mission games in many ways, the ISLET-MP offers additional functions such as multiple learners/players and longer scenarios, and there is also greater emphasis on game play aspects.
Alelo completed a technical prototype last month. It was an impressive achievement by the team and we completed nearly every goal we established when the plan was developed last summer/fall. The prototype included the following elements:
- Eavesdropping - players can hear each other practice language in conversations with a non-player character (NPC);
- Word Mastery - a scoring system by which players gain points for using words and phrases in the target language;
- Team Conversations - conversations between multiple players and a NPC;
- Cooperative Quests - players have team quests that they work together to complete;
- Items and Inventory - players can find and trade items between other players and NPCs; and
- Minimap - A top-down minimap shows the location of obstacles, NPCs, and other players to help the player navigate the game world.
Testimonial #1 from a 1LT in the US Army:
I just wanted to tell you that I think your program is amazing! I am not normally easily impressed, but this program is the best way to prepare anyone for a real world encounter in the culture they study. I know from experience, as I am fresh from Afghanistan that this program gives a real advantage to those wanting to learn. I used the Tactical Pashto program as a major part of my preparations to enter the country. As a Civil Affairs team leader, I needed to have a good understanding of the language and culture; this program was perfect for such preparations. No other program offered anywhere even comes close!
Also, as a Masters student in linguistics who is very interested in Computers and Language Learning (CALL), there is nothing out there, in my opinion that rivals the techniques and technological advances presented in these programs. You definitely have my support and I preach the superiority of the program to all who my soldiers who are serious about learning and brag about the advances that the military is making to my college friends.
CA Team Chief
405th CA BN
Testimonial #2 from an individual customer:
I'm in Pashto and Arabic courses here at the University of Utah and that game has put me WELL ahead of the Pashto class. I've even showed them the game and interaction they can get from it. A few of the students are in the military so I'm sure they will be getting it soon. :)
Events on the Alelo calendar
Alelo has several public events coming up in the near future. Join us at an event near you!