So before I start whining I just want to say I love what has been built here. Wanikani has me excited for learning kanji and japanese vocab and has replaced time I spent playing mindless games on my phone with a rich and rewarding learning experience. I’m still a new user here, but I purchased a lifetime membership during the winter sale because I’ve been so impressed with the app. That being said, there are a few things about it that really grind my gears and some improvements I would suggest.
New lessons - this week I was hitting the site constantly waiting to get the reviews I needed to hit guru on my kanji and get some new material on the next level. The new vocab lessons trickled in and there wasnt enough new material to satisfy my appetite. Suddenly I hit the new level and I’m immediately drowned with 100+ new lessons in a single day. I start the new lessons and it starts out almost all vocab from the kanji on the level i just finished. Im sure there are some new radicals coming up, but why am i inundated with this all at once? I should have been getting this vocab throughout the week when i was bored and then once I finished the level i could start the new radicals. Very frustrating and drains my excitement and resolve to keep going.
Lack of SRS customization - although I love the SRS concept I highly doubt the number of levels and frequency of reviews is a one size fits all solution. Why not let us play around and find out how we learn best?
Ad-hoc reviews - sometimes when I’m bored and have nothing to review I’d like to just trigger some random reviews. Why can’t I do this?
Thanks for all the hard work on putting this together. Hopefully this feedback helps to make this even better.
Having a similar problem. I was going to pay for monthly membership in a few days after trying to get a bit through level three but right now it went for like 80+ reviews a day and like 15+ lessons a day to almost no reviews and no lessons at all. I guess I’m waiting on these radicals? Not sure. Just reached level 3 the other day. Is there a way to prevent this from happening in the future? or is this just because I’m such a low level? I just want to study more kanji.
The new lessons getting crammed with all the vocab at once and waiting on the new radicals thing… that’s fixable as long as you have some self control.
There are a few reorder scripts that you can reorder the reviews and lessons. I’m playing with that now, as I have the same problem. The day or two before leveling up, I’ve got hardly any reviews, then it jumps up in the hundreds really quickly because of all the new vocab to get to the kanji. I’m going to try to space out the vocab lessons a little bit and focus on those during the downtime while waiting for kanji to level up. Maybe it will make the daily rate a bit more consistent.
Wanikani doesn’t fix this because they don’t need to. A user already solved this:
Because WaniKani alone is a product for users that don’t want customization. One of the reasons why Anki doesn’t work for a lot of people is because they mess up with their own customization. You could be different, or maybe not. Still, you can learn 2000 kanji and 6000+ words in 1 year and 1 month (max speed). Do you really think that’s slow?
Still, they offer an API key for programmers to be able to create their own customization, turn it into a script and offer it to other users.
the reason you didn’t get the new vocab is that you have to guru the kanji to release the vocab - the vocab that is released will contain the kanji you have learnt. If you haven’t gurued the kanji yet, you can’t understand the vocab - hope that makes sense. Early levels always feel slow at times but as you go up the levels, you will have so many lessons and reviews that you will gradually do the lessons in smaller batches anyway.
I would personally look at using something like memrise or another language app for fun in between review practise as the idea is that if you practise the wanikani stuff between time, you are going against srs. However, I also use leech squashing script despite this as there are some that i was just not getting, so you could also install that to help with the harder ones. Hope this helps
In addition to the reorder script that was mentioned, you can also change this under your profile settings; the one you probably want is full-random, where you could be getting the new radicals mixed with vocab and kanji (and you can freely reload the lessons page to get a new random set). By default, it’s set to clear out anything from the previous level first, since sometimes you’ll see new vocab that references previous vocab and people who weren’t regularly draining their lesson-sets before leveling were at risk of severely delaying those items.
The first script will alter the order in which items are chosen for new lessons, which does affect how long it takes between levels. If you only do radicals and kanji, though, you’re gonna end up with an insane amount of unlearned vocab very quickly, and mixing it up may help reduce review fatigue if you ever end up with a really big stack.
The second does not affect your SRS rankings, but could cause you to not learn an item as well as the SRS spacing is meant to make you learn it. If you see the item every day, it might not stick as well if you then don’t see it for a month.
Just do a few vocab at a time or do like I do and blast through them all, then the radicals then around half the kanji leaving the rest and the new vocab for the next day or day after. It’s up to you really - exactly what you want.
If you want to do some reviews between lessons read through your studied list and write them out, look at compounds, use mnemonics from elsewhere, read a book, do some grammar, work on leeches etc etc
Thank you everyone for the great feedback and suggestions! I will definitely be checking out the reorder script and will let you know how it goes. The new radicals definitely seem the most “fun” as they’re brand new concepts and there is only 1 thing to remember on each instead of both reading and meaning. I think it makes sense to reorder and get the new radical lessons first as a “reward” in a sense for achieving the new level. Then hit the new vocab from last level up in the following days while the new radicals are simmering and the new kanji hasnt come through yet.
As you level up you keep reviewing items from previous levels, the higher your level the more reviews you get; it’s normal that you can’t realise it given that you’re still on an early level, but don’t be impatient, your reviews will come.
And you don’t need to do all your lessons at once, take your time. You did purchase a lifetime subscription, so there´s no hurry!
And as a little further info to maybe help with the “down days” problem, going at max speed will put you at about 20 new lessons per day to be done. If this is a bit too much, great, then slowing down a bit and spreading the workload will solve that problem. If you still want to do more, there are threads on here with lists of resources for things to do with the rest of your free time.
No matter what speed you plan on going, make sure you understand what workload the future will hold with your average accuracy when enlighten/burn reviews hit.
If you are bored and have nothing to review, how about studying some grammar while you get new stuff to review/study in WK? You can use something like Bunpro or one of the millions of japanese grammar books out there (Genki perhaps?).
My gripe is the fake names for radicals. I was initially interested in waniKani training materials about 4 years ago but was turned off completely after paying a dollar for the radicals list. I liked the idea of learning radicals instead of strokes. Then I found out the names of many of the radicals were nonsense. It caused me to lose faith in everything else.
Fast forward to today and I am evaluating the service before I subscribe. The goofy names for the radicals grinds my gears, learning the radicals before I can access vocabulary feels like a waste of time.
However I am giving it a chance this time around. The documentation explains that every design choice revolves around helping me learn a bunch of vocabulary and kanji in a way that doesn’t make me fall asleep on the train or at my desk. I still don’t like the radicals part of the curriculum though.
fake names for radicals - that annoys me too. Fortunately there is an easy solution (I read this in a similar thread). I keep a ‘cheat sheet’ by my computer, write the WK radical name (treasure, elephant, poop) then when that radical comes up in a review, enter the WK radical name, click on the eye icon, look at the bottom left for “+ADD SYNONYM” & enter a radical name that makes more sense to me, which is usually the Japanese name for the radical (tehen, madare) because I know most of them already, a kanji name / translation (‘mother’ instead of WK’s name ‘drawers’ or something that makes more sense to me (treasure -> me, for メ, because it is expecting your reply in English, & flipping the keyboard to Japanese input just for メ is annoying & slower than just entering the romaji).
WK is helping me a lot with motivation. I’m constantly, eagerly checking for new lessons & reviews. With textbooks alone, I don’t go to my desk & think “Yay I get to study p. 94 today!” When no lessons or reviews are waiting for me, I use textbooks, other things when I feel like studying. If I don’t feel like studying, I’ll do other tasks around home. Or today I saw 40 new lessons waiting for me. Grr, I don’t feel like doing all that at once. I did 10 of those lessons, reading all the sample sentences for each kanji, took notes. Nap, non-studying tasks, will get to the remaining 30 later.
I can understand that learning the radicals/kanji is the fun part - but the ultimate aim is long term consolidation of the knowledge. The vocab is key in consolidating the kanji in your long term memory by practising using them in different contexts. They also help you learn and consolidate the alternative readings for a kanji.
The problem with the reorder scripts is that people end up getting further ahead with the kanji but haven’t done the groundwork with the vocab which helps consolidate the earlier kanji.