Spaced repetition with iKnow!

I’ve recent­ly renewed my iKnow! sub­scrip­tion, with the aim of fin­ish­ing the Japan­ese Core 6000 series (the 6000 most com­mon­ly appear­ing Japan­ese words) once and for all. I’ve tried many dif­fer­ent meth­ods for vocab­u­lary build­ing and I’ve found iKnow! to be one of the most reli­able to date (if you put in the time!). After learn­ing some words in iKnow!, I seem to notice them ran­dom­ly when watch­ing TV shows, read­ing arti­cles, etc. which fur­ther rein­forces the words in my mem­o­ry. In con­junc­tion with gen­er­ous help­ings of nat­ur­al sources of Japan­ese, I am hop­ing iKnow! will help push me towards flu­en­cy in 2014.

iKnow! is an online, paid, learn­ing ser­vice based on spaced rep­e­ti­tion that can help you learn and remem­ber words. There are pre-built cours­es with exam­ple sen­tences, images and sounds, and your progress is saved online. iOS and Android apps are also avail­able (full dis­clo­sure: I used to work on the iKnow! Android app).

iKnow! welcome screen.

iKnow! wel­come screen.

Spaced rep­e­ti­tion is a learn­ing tech­nique where­by you increase the amount of time between sub­se­quent reviews to max­i­mize learn­ing effi­cien­cy. Intu­itive­ly, review­ing items too ear­ly (when you still remem­ber it) is wast­ed effort, and so to min­i­mize the amount of time study­ing you should only review just as you are about to for­get it. There are algo­rithms that exist to try to cal­cu­late this opti­mal time inter­val, one of which is imple­ment­ed by the iKnow! ser­vice. iKnow! also intro­duces the con­cept of ‘mas­ter­ing’, which is basi­cal­ly a thresh­old at which reten­tion is deemed suf­fi­cient­ly high.

Repeated reviewed items follow a different curve

Repeat­ed reviewed items fol­low a dif­fer­ent curve

There are sev­er­al free spaced rep­e­ti­tion apps avail­able too (e.g. Anki), but I’m choos­ing to use iKnow! for the pre-pack­aged con­tent, var­ied quiz types, tar­get setting/progress sys­tem, and reli­able sync­ing across dif­fer­ent apps/platforms. iKnow! repeats con­tent a lot more often dur­ing a ses­sion mak­ing reviews take a bit longer com­pared to Anki, but read­ing the exam­ple sen­tences again and again seems to help me with reten­tion.

Core 6000 is split up into 6 dif­fer­ent series (Core 1000 — Core 6000), each hav­ing 1000 words. In turn, each series has 10 cours­es, con­tain­ing 100 words each. The ini­tial cours­es have plen­ty of images and exam­ple sen­tences, but this degrades some­what as you progress (from around Core 3000 you only get one exam­ple sen­tence per word, and no images).

iKnow! study screen.

iKnow! study screen.

I start­ed on Core 1000 Step 1, and my most recent­ly mas­tered course was Core 4000 Step 5. Hav­ing cur­rent­ly put in 208 hours in total, the aver­age time for me to fin­ish a course is 6 hours. With some extrap­o­la­tion, and a study tar­get of 7 hours per week, it will me 150 hours (21.4 weeks) to fin­ish the remain­ing 25 cours­es. Main­tain­ing 1 hour per day may seem straight­for­ward, but with­out some basic plan­ning it is easy to slip up. This time round, I’m going to try to split up my ses­sions through­out the day to get through it a bit eas­i­er. Feel free to ask me about my iKnow! progress in 2014!

Current progress in iKnow!

Cur­rent progress in iKnow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *