General feedback on WK


#1

Hey guys,

I’m still in level 2, trying to see if this works for me.
I would really like to know your opinion. This is what I think about WK so far, and I’ve been using other apps and doing my own things, I’m a developer so I understand how it works underneath (in case you think I don’t).

SLOW START

  • Is not cool if you already studied maybe 300 kanjis, and passed kanken exams, like me, to start over and spend time on basic stuff. I’m not talking about the famous “slow complaint”. I like the way it works, but it’s extremely slow when you already know some kanjis. Give me the choice to try, then to move where I want, I don’t care if I have to start paying.

CHOICE

  • There’s no way to choose what you study. It doesn’t matter if it’s based on an algorithm. You could mark burned anything you want. There’s ways to cheat SRS. Give your own way to choose is freedom. The possibility to avoid some kanjis because you think they are not useful at all. Or at least delay them.

VOCAB

  • Some vocab is not useful at all, too difficult or too basic or too rare, and we are forced to learn it. We cannot add our own vocabulary. In the first levels, it looks like people who starts using wanikani should be noobs. In fact, it’s completely the contrary. Most of the people who starts here, I guess, is because after a couple of years studying japanese they find out kanjis are really hard. In my case, after nearly 8 years. So spending time learning vocabulary that is the same as the kanji, same pronunciation, everything, makes you feel really stupid. Some others are not the one I would choose for that particular kanji.
    Why not give us the chance to choose vocabulary that contains combinations of kanjis we are studying so far? or at least, organized from all, to some, to just one. That would be awesome. But needs a little work on WK part, and probably using Jisho api or something like that … :confused:
    And also, giving us the choice to mark something as “don’t like this” or “not useful”, would help WK know which is the vocabulary people like the least. Maybe give options of community added vocab.

TYPOS AND RECOGNITION
This is frustrating. It’s cool that it tells you : Don’t write the kun, write the on yomi here!.Thank god!. But there should be some kind of typo check level. Not only in pronunciation, that one is important to do right. But the meaning. For not native english speakers this is important. We fail many times on adding some letters.

  • A check to see if you missed one letter, or swaped two letters. That’s extremely easy to do.
  • If you write by mistake a meaning on a reading (easy to do, just check if it’s wrong, and it’s the meaning letters) in case all of them have hiragana (if not, it doesn’t accept it, which is great),
  • If you write a reading on a meaning (this is more often!!). If it’s wrong, check if it’s the writing, and tell us.

REVIEWS GETTING TO LARGE

  • This is obviously something that has to be fixed some way. It’s insane people is really accumulating so many reviews. I had a long work week and today I found all of the reviews are already waiting for me (90, just 90 for now…).
    [EDIT] I know about the wrap-up button. I don’t mean that. I know you don’t have to do all of them, but I mean that if you just do reviews twice a week they come up everyday too fast.

There must be a way to make it be slower or faster. That should be really easy for an algorithm like this. Maybe give us the choice of changing speed (how many times you can review a week… etc) or general speed of review update. That would really help us study how we want.

FREEDOM MODE

  • If I’m starting kanjis on a different way. I’d like to use WK freely. Choosing my own kanjis, and vocabulary. No leveling. That’d be awesome. But I know this is a hard one. I only wish I could do this.

Thanks!!

EDIT:
I just saw there are scripts. People use these a lot? I prefer if WK people fixes this, really.


#2

If you don’t like the speed, content, the intervals of SRS system and the way WK checks answers, you are better off using Anki where these things can be tweaked to your preferences.

Some other random observations:

A check to see if you missed one letter, or swaped two letters. That’s extremely easy to do.

This is already implemented.

There’s ways to cheat SRS.

This should not be on the developer to try to solve, for a number of reasons.
There is no app or test you can’t cheat on when self-studying.

Some vocab is not useful at all, too difficult or too basic or too rare, and we are forced to learn it.

The vocabulary items are here specifically to reinforce kanji. So don’t think of them as learning useless words, think of them as extra kanji recognition practice, since it’s all part of the package.

REVIEWS GETTING TO LARGE
This is obviously something that has to be fixed some way.

This is one thing that will never change since the SRS intervals are fixed. If you’re having trouble with too much reviews, do your lessons at a slower pace. Or switch to Anki where you can modify the intervals.
Godspeed


#4

VOCAB
Some vocab is not useful at all, too difficult or too basic or too rare

I agree that the vocab could be adjusted but I don’t think the current selection is hugely problematic. And the tofugu team does add and remove items from time to time.

Custom adding of vocab would be cool and has been requested in the past.

TYPOS AND RECOGNITION

It already does this for meaning–I mistype words all the time with no penalty. But for pronunciation, how would the system know the difference between a typo and a wrong answer?

REVIEWS GETTING TO LARGE

There is a clock icon you can hit to finish the next ten items and then stop reviewing. Or you can just close your browser tab mid-way through a review. You don’t have to do all your items in a review at once.

It is insane that reviews accumulate but that is how SRS works. People who are not disciplined to log in every day and do their reviews will be hurt by the SRS system.

[EDIT: I’ve complained about this in the past myself. But I don’t have a solution to the problem of going away for a week and coming back to 1000 reviews. I don’t believe there is an easy answer to this problem, other than vacation mode, which they have implemented]

There must be a way to make it be slower or faster. That should be really easy for an algorithm like this.

Please share with us a way to adjust the SRS that is slower or faster without negatively impacting learning. This sounds like an open research question.

I just saw there are scripts. People use these a lot?

Yes.

I prefer if WK people fixes this, really.

Tofugu has their hands busy with major features on wanikani and other tofugu products.

The scripts are a great way to get useful functionality that may or may not be officially added in the future. I recommend the wanikani ultimate timeline to help manage your workflow. The ignore script is useful, but I recommend you wait until level 10 or so before installing it.


#5

Wew, here we go

Im going to work from the bottom up.

So yes there are scripts. This is intentional and there is nothing to be fixed. It increases the QoL of many users and can aid learning. Nothing bad about that.

The freedom mode thing… at least you say it is just a wish

So the reviews getting too large. Im not sure what you think the algorithm is…but its very simple and can be found in the faq. reviews are spaced out in increasing intervals, and if you get something right it moves up on the ladder causing the next time you see it to be longer than before. This is called SRS. If you want less reviews, have less items on the lower end of your ladder by doing less lessons.

As for typo check…there is one. A very good one I would argue. The only time there isnt one is for reading. Not sure if you mixed up the two in your post on accident

On to the vocab thing. The point of WK is to learn kanji. The point of the vocab is partially just to reinforce that kanji. With that being said, twice now I have seen 2 level 60s say that they have probably seen every word on here at least once in the wild. You will probably use them eventually and it wont be a total waste of your time.

Thirdly on the topic of adding stuff, wk is an application meant to teach you kanji as I have said. The vocab they teach you is for that reason. If you want to study you own separate vocab just use a different application. No harm done.

Not sure what you mean by most of the people started WK after years of study. There is literally no way you could know that and are just projecting your own experience. Personally, I knew jack shit about kanji (I didnt even know that there were 2 sets of readings) when I started WK. I knew vocab and hiragana and katakana. Noobs start here too. The point is that everyone will have built the foundation to learn upon for when they start leveling up.

The choice thing plays in with my last point. They have a specific way they want you to learn, and kanji and that levels vocab go together intentionally. Its all meant to tie together and enforce it all the more in your brain.

As for already knowing things. Again this ties into the foundation thing. If you dont want to spend time on it, you dont have to. WK doesnt claim to be for everybody. In the end its your choice, but the method of teaching works for a lot of people so they probably wont be changing it anytime soon.


#6

Cool, 'cause I was just thinking of this after a large-ish batch of reviews this morning - have never noticed it, will keep my eyes peeled (next review in 3 mins).


#7

Found it ‘hiding’ in plain sight - thanks! :blush:


#8

If you want everything in your own order at your own speed, that’s called just making your own flashcards or using Anki.

I also don’t really understand how you ask for it to be it faster at the beginning of your post, then you want it slower later on. If you’re scared about 90 reviews, that’s only going to be worse the faster you go.


#9

I actually like that the system forces you into a rigid structure, it helps you to focus on the content. I knew most kanji+vocab to level 18~20, but I still learned some new items and things about the kanji themselves. I’m now better prepared to learn more kanji. I guess most people who hit a wall learning kanji with other methods were fooling themselves that they have a scalable way to remember all kanji, and then find themselves in a “locked up” state after a few hundred.

With your ideas you might end up with more time tinkering than actually learning. Of course WK is not for everyone, if you already know (literally) everything until say level 30 it’s a waste to wait half a year. If you knew maybe 80% until level 20 it is still a good idea to go through everything.


#10

Well, everyone has already said what I wanted to say here.

Anyway, the way Wanikani has been developed, for me, is pretty awesome. I’m a developer just like you and I find that WK’s logic structure is perfectly rigid and guides you, like everyone else on a single path. The leveling system makes you feel “competent” as you see yourself progressing and getting ahead than others who don’t.

As a developer, that is not an easy thing to do. Because we always want the “easy” way out on everything we develop and love to set aside the true nature of problem. In learning, there’s no skipping steps. Because if you do, your weak foundation will crumble before you even notice it. Two things you should consider when making learning apps (in case that you do) is by making sure that there will be no “gaps” or “lapses” on the knowledge of your users on the most efficient amount of time and making sure that the knowledge will remain intact in their long term memory.

Can you do that?

Sometimes, you care so much about the user that their tantrums won’t change the way on how you should do things.

The Freedom mode that you speak of is a “disaster” for anyone who tries to do self-learning as the field of learning is technically “infinite” and there’s no way that you will never get bored out of that insanity. The very fact that you searched and tried WK is because you wished yourself that you like to be guided, and you just won’t accept that fact. You also probably heard Anki first before WK, because it is much more popular option than WK (googling best Japanese learning apps will throw Anki first on your face). Anki offers the freedom you wanted, but still went to WK then got frustrated about on how it works.

But then again, Anki is more prone to cheating due to self-evaluation. Anyone can just click easy button then that’s the end of it. And for me, Anki lacks the drive to push me forward than what WK does. WK makes you remember the spelling, meaning, onyomi and kunyomi by typing out the kana yourself. You can’t do that in Anki.

I’m just starting just like you but I already figured out what would it be like in the long run. True, it is kind of slow at first, but you should already have heard from the higher level people. That things will catch up on you on time, and you will be surprised yourself that why you don’t know anything about it. Also, being at low level does not mean you know everything in it. I already know most of JLPT N3 material, and yet I encounter new meanings/readings on certain Kanji at such a low level (currently 3).

I bet that even if you are N1, there will be things around here that you haven’t seen before (of course why would you even try this if you’re already N1 anyway?)


#11

Not sure what you mean by most of the people started WK after years of study. There is literally no way you could know that and are just projecting your own experience. Personally, I knew jack shit about kanji (I didnt even know that there were 2 sets of readings) when I started WK. I knew vocab and hiragana and katakana. Noobs start here too. The point is that everyone will have built the foundation to learn upon for when they start leveling up.

Just going to add to this by mentioning that I knew like a dozen words at most and literally no Japanese grammar at all (not even これはペンです) when I started WaniKani.


#12

I wish I started the same. Studying for JLPT exams would be a cake walk for me if I had such a huge kanji and vocabulary stash under my arsenal.


#13

To add, yet again, onto this, I came to WK almost immediately after learning my kana. So I most definitely had not been studying for years before coming here. Everyone learns differently especially when it comes to self-study since there isn’t necessarily a structured class that you’re following. I personally am thankful for the fact that WK has everything laid out for me and I don’t need to choose what I should be learning next. All I need to focus on is learning the items I’m presented and make sure I keep going to level 60.


#14

I honestly can’t believe how people are able to study Japanese without Kanji.

In March, I started reading Tae Kim’s grammar guide. My study wasn’t daily (1 to 2x/week). In May, I was already burned out. Just from that. In June, I started with WK and has been a wonderful journey since then. I restarted my grammar studies from the very beginning and I’m somewhere around N4 at the moment. Learning vocab without knowing the Kanji was so harrrrrddd. I still remember a 30 min train trip that I did and I spent it on memorizing around 12 words. The mission clearly failed. Now, I can just memorize 20 words in 10 minutes if the Kanji are already familiar to me. WK has been a blessing honestly.


#15

Well, when I took the N4 this summer I definitely didn’t have any trouble with the kanji on the test, I’ll tell you that much. But for vocab WK actually isn’t enough, even for the lower levels. There’s just too many super common words that WK doesn’t teach. Having done WK certainly helped, though. :slight_smile:


#16

Yes, I too wish I had superpowers and could comfortably learn everything in half the time. If you have any suggestions other than receiving a potentially lethal dose of radiation or being bitten by a radioactive book, I’d love to hear them.


#17

For everybody (before I read all messages). With REVIEWS QUEUE getting too big and using the wrap-up button, I don’t mean that! I mean accumulating too many reviews because SRS is too fast for the time we have every week for the reviews. In my case, I want to spend maybe 3 times doing reviews. But doing so, I get nearly all reviews everytime I start. If I skip 2 and I just do it once a week, I get all reviews waiting for me. That’s insane. I can’t be doing this every day. Each of us has a speed… I understand that SRS is based on “memory”, so well…


#18

Obviously you simply aren’t being pious enough. The Crabigator knows when your worship is half-assed. Go find a couple goats or virgins to sacrifice and come back.


#19

This is already implemented.

I don’t think so! I have had typos like this in the past months and it fails all the time.

So don’t think of them as learning useless words, think of them as extra kanji recognition practice

I know it’s for reinforcing. But using known words for your level and common words will help much more than using rare words you don’t know at all and will never use.


#20

I don’t want to learn faster or cheat. I just know that I can’t do reviews everyday. That’s for sure.


#21

Is it that you can’t keep up with all the reviews you get? Waiting until your reviews have died down before starting new lessons, and only doing a couple of lessons at a time will help. Obviously, if you’re not doing your reviews every day, then it’s going to take longer to get through the material, but that can’t be helped.