Improvement suggestion: How to make SRS as effective as possible for all learners on WaniKani

Quick summary:
Learning with SRS is most effective if I invest a lot of time each day. SRS is not as effective if I will not invest a lot of time each day. I think it is possible to achieve maximum effectivity even for people who want to invest less time each day.

And now little more details :slight_smile:

There are first few lines from the first mail I have obtained from wanikani:

You joined WaniKani. Welcome!

Sounds like you’re ready to begin the incredibly simple task of learning all our ~2,000 kanji (both meanings and readings) and ~6,000 Japanese vocabulary words.

When I say simple I mean simple. You just have to sit down and:

  1. Do your available Lessons.
  2. Do your Reviews.
  3. Do them every day, without fail, even on your birthday.

Description of the problem:
I completely agree with that text from mail and I have seen that SRS (Spaced repetition) is one of the most effective things I have ever seen while learning foreign language. The problem starts with the amount of reviews and new lessons I need to do each day to be as effective with SRS as possible. According to this thread I need to do ±225 reviews and 25 new lessons each day on average if I want to stay as effective as possible. Let’s say I need 4 hours to achieve this pace (just a rought estimate). But what will happen if I can invest only like 30 minutes or one hour to wanikani (but still want to do it daily). The reviews will pile up, some of review items will stay unreviewed long time which will deteriorate success rate (eg. I know the answer in 90% of cases just after the item becomes ready but only in 60% when the item is in the review queue for 5 days). So the SRS system is not as efficient as when I will do review as soon as it will become available.
So I have been thinking a little about that system and how to make learning as effective as possible for all people who want to study each day but with possibility to decide how much time they want to invest each day.

Possible solution:
Possibility to adjust length of level (maybe first two levels could be fixed and after that you can decide).
As of today, there is level with fixed Radicals, Kanji and Vocabulary. After that change, there would be radicals which have fixed kanji and kanjis which have fixed vocabulary words (the order of all radicals, kanjis and vocabulary words would be same as today).
For example today level 5 have 27 radicals, 43 kanjis, 123 vocabulary words. In the future user can say: I want level with 40 vocabulary words. Then this custom level would have those 40 vocabulary words plus eg. 7 radicals and 13 kanjis.

The biggest plus:
It will be possible to use SRS system as effective as possible without regard to invested time each day.

Crazy future:
In the head I have ideas about monitoring how long each review item and each new word will take on average (for each person) and also even statistics about personal success rate, then you can adjust length of level according to time you want to invest each day. That would be super cool to say: I want to invest 75 minutes each day and the system would automatically create levels which contain different amount of items for one person and different amount of items for another person both investing 75 minutes :slight_smile:
And even adjusting not opened levels eg. each single day according to new statistics and… well I think I will better stop there.

Please let me know if all this is just a rubbish or if there are some ideas worth looking at :wink:

How does it differ from doing only a few lessons per day? I think how the items are packed into levels is unrelated to the number of reviews?


Just limit the number of lessons you do - there are plenty of guidelines but a lot of people keep their apprentice items below 100 or 100-150. You can also just do 10-15 lessons a day, no more. I find that spending 9 to 10 days on a level is quite a comfortable pace that doesn’t get you drowned in reviews. I would not be spending 4 hours a day on wanikani even if I did have that kind of time - it’s much better IMHO to spend it learning grammar / seeing vocab in context (reading) / listening.

The point is though you already have control over the workload because you decide how many lessons to do. And it works much better than totally reshuffling levels.


Yes, that sounds reasonable, if I see that ratio 25 new items and ±250 new reviews each days, then I can do like 5 new items if I want to do like 50 reviews each days.

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One lesson generates 8 reviews, so if you stick to 10 lessons you get a peak of 80 per day, and a mistake is worth 2 or 3 reviews.

With 20 lessons a day it’s 160+X (the 250 you mentioned?), but it’s also near full speed.

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I did the fastest pace you can in like 1.5 hours a day. Some people are faster, some are slower but I think you can do plenty in an hour of wanikani. Just limit your lessons until you find something comfortable


Thanks a lot for useful info. This + looking at amount of apprentice items tip from @Alenaf will do the trick for me I think.

PS: I have calculated those 250 from 225 reviews and 25 new lessons (from here) + bigger fail rate for me.


With 25 lessons per day you can definitely go with the maximum speed, maybe you are interested in using the reorder script. Only the radicals and kanji are important for leveling up, so you might want to do them when they are available, and spread the vocab nicely in between.

I went full speed and always zeroing my reviews and lessons (before level up). My average was 23 items/day.


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