Bliu Bliu: ‘the only company in the world that teaches languages we don’t even know’

Philip J. Kerr, Adaptive Learning in ELT, Dec 30, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Fascinating review of the language-learning company called Bliu Bliu. The principle behind the site is that you learn language by immersion, reading and using language. OK, so far so good. The system works by presenting you a series of tests building on your knowledge level, so that you are only introduced to a few new words at a time. The entire set of test exercises is automatically generated. Sounds good? According to this review, it isn't. Indeed, to this point, it appears to be awful. Why did it go wrong? "It is generally accepted now that comprehensible input may be necessary, but it is not sufficient for language learning to take place," argues Philip Kerr. "Bliu Bliu has falsely assumed that comprehensibility can be determined by self-reporting of word knowledge, and this assumption is made even more problematic by the confusion of words (as sequences of letters) with lexical items."

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