Please note that as of fall 2007, this project has moved to Tactical Language Training LLC,, for further development.


* Rapid Development of Mission-Oriented Communication Skills*
tlt_v11_screenshot.jpg Project Leader: Lewis Johnson
The objective of this project is to develop tools to support individualized language learning, and apply them to the acquisition of tactical languages: subsets of linguistic, gestural, and cultural knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish specific missions. In order to maximize learner motivation and give learners effective practice opportunities, learners will practice on vocabulary items and learn gestures, and then apply them in simulated missions. In the simulation, they will interact with avatars and virtual characters.
The training system enables learners to communicate directly with on-screen characters using a speech recognition interface. Our objective is to make the toolset easily applicable to new tactical languages, missions, and training contexts. Our first target language is Levantine Arabic, and our next target language is Iraqi Arabic.


August 14, 2004 ­ We tested the current system at Ft. Bragg for a week. A total of 23 subjects took part in the test. The subjects were assigned to four groups, each of which used a different version of the program. Two of the groups used the Mission Practice Environment (the interactive game), two did not. Two groups received feedback from the pedagogical agent, two did not. All versions except the one without the game and without feedback were rated highly by the learners. The complete system was rated as being comparable to one-on-one tutoring with a human tutor.


pedagogical agents, game-based learning environments, speech processing, natural language processing


  • W. Lewis Johnson
  • Stacy Marsella
  • David V. Pynadath
  • Catherine M. LaBore
  • Brett Rutland
  • Teresa Dey
  • Hannes Vilhjalmsson
  • Nicolaus Mote
  • Shumin Wu
  • Ulf Hermjakob
  • Mei Si
  • Nadim Daher
  • Chirag Merchant
  • Andre Valente
  • COL Stephen Larocca, US Military Academy
  • Shrikanth Narayanan, USC School of Engineering
  • Anna Fowles-Winkler, Micro Analysis and Design
  • Ursula Lauper, Micro Analysis and Design
  • Abhinav Sethy, USC School of Engineering
  • Sunhee Choi, USC School of Education
  • Dan Coffin, BBN Technologies.
  • Steve Franke, Exotic Languages Agency


  • DARPA / Office of Naval Research



  • Johnson, W.L., Vilhjįlmsson, H. H., and Marsella, S. , Serious games for language learning: How much game, how much AI?. In AIED

  • Johnson, W.L. and Beal, C. , Iterative evaluation of an intelligent game for language learning.. In AIED

  • Beal, C. , Johnson, W.L., Rabrowski, R., and Wu, S., Individualized feedback and simulation-based practice in the Tactical Language Training System.. In AIED