Dr. Paula Hidalgo (left), Dr. Lewis Johnson, and Dr. Kathi Bailey

      Alelo means “tongue” or “language” in Hawaiian. Hawaii is a crossroads for languages and cultures throughout the Pacific Rim, and thus is a metaphor for Alelo’s mission. Alelo develops computer-based learning products focused on communication skills and cross cultural competencies needed for particular jobs and missions. The platform uses social simulations in which learners engage with human-looking avatars in meaningful communicative situations. (Some examples of social simulations can be found on YouTube by clicking here.)
      Alelo’s work is in line with TIRF’s current focus on promoting research and best practices to improve the use of English in the emerging global knowledge economy of the 21st century. The Alelo team is now focusing on cultural awareness and occupational communication skills for people with limited proficiency in English in corporate environments. An example task might be training hotel front-desk staff on how to deal with a dissatisfied guest, or using the right tone to address a customer in English.
     In September, Dr. Paula Hidalgo, Alelo’s Vice President of Product Strategy and Marketing, and Dr. Lewis Johnson, CEO and co-founder of the company, met with TIRF’s President, Kathi Bailey, and TIRF’s Executive Assistant, Ryan Damerow, to discuss common research interests, needs assessment strategies, and critical sectors of the workforce. Afterwards Dr. Johnson commented, “We are happy to have had this opportunity to learn more about TIRF’s activities, and we look forward to further exchanges of research findings.”