March 30, 2022
December 22, 2021

Progression ー December 2021, End of the Year Update 🎉

Hey everyone, it's holiday / 年末年始 time ^_^

Enjoy this festive photo of Fukuoka Tower:)

Here we are, wrapping up 2021. It’s been quite the year for us, a lot of change in the background. We’ve spent much of this year laying solid foundations and I’m excited to build on those in the coming year 😊

Anyway, hope you’ve been well! Now let’s get into it ✨

We’ve reached a steady state with content production over the past couple months which has been exciting. It’s cool to see weekly new content published and to watch students point out their favorite parts and share what they’re discovering in the community. If you haven’t made it to the recent Phase 2 Unit’s yet... They’re super, super good. Imagining Phase 3 got me 👀

Now, on to some really exciting news!

There’s a BIG update that's just released. We’ve been working on an entire overhaul to the way the progression system works. Next time you log in, you’ll see some pretty substantial changes to your dashboard 🤩

Here's a sneak peak though:

Screen Shot 2021-12-22 at 11

Gone is the pace slider! What moves you through the platform now is a “mastery based” system. This means, you can progress by as much as you’re able to keep up with your reviews.

When you log in next, your review threshold will be automatically set to 50 reviews. You can easily change this should you wish to increase or decrease it. Based on what you set it to, you’ll then be assigned new Units until you’ve reached your review threshold for the next day. This means that when content is easy for you, you’ll progress quickly, and when content is more difficult, the system will naturally slow down, and then speed up again.

NativShark now moves at your pace, whatever that may be.

Here’s some questions and answers from our testing group:

Q: Do I have to keep studying until I hit or exceed my review threshold?

A: No, you can stop whenever you like. The threshold is there to give you an idea of what awaits you the next day, but that doesn’t mean you have to max out every day. Go at a pace that feels right for you. If you notice that you stop consistently below the threshold currently set, you can hit the Configure button and decrease the threshold to match closer to what you’re comfortable with.

Q: Is there a min or max that I can set for reviews?

A: The minimum review count you’re able to set is 5, as this is how many cards are required to maintain your streak (if you have less than 5 cards to review, you must review them all to maintain your streak). While there is no theoretical maximum, we don’t recommend setting high numbers as it will make it harder for you to learn consistently and efficiently in the long run. The system will warn you should you try to set a higher than recommended threshold.

Q: Can I study more once I’ve done the units assigned to me for the day?

A: Once you’ve done your assigned material for the day, you’ll see the number of reviews waiting for tomorrow at the bottom of your dashboard timeline. If that number is lower than your review threshold limit, the Study Now button will change to say Start Unit, and pressing that will take you to the next unit for you to continue studying.

Q: What happens if I go over my review threshold?

A: If you’re in a middle of studying new material when this happens, you’ll still be able to complete what’s been assigned to you for the current day. The next day, you won’t be assigned any new units and will get a “review only day” to keep your reviews under control and improve your learning and retention without overloading you with more new material. This will continue on subsequent days until your “Tomorrow’s Reviews” falls below the threshold you have set.

Q: I have more time to study for the next few days, can I change my review threshold?

A: Absolutely! If you’re on vacation or know you’ll have a bunch of free time coming up, you’re welcome to adjust your threshold to study more material when you have free time. Conversely, you can reduce it when you know you’re going to be super busy. Be careful not to go too crazy with adjustments though. If you have lots of free time, then it’s better to spend just 1-2 hours maximum on studying, while the rest of the time is spent on immersion in native language material of something you enjoy, such as TV shows, games or reading for example.

Q: How will this new system help me get to material I know more quickly?

A: As long as your reviews are below your threshold, you can continue to proceed through the units without limit. In order to have this happen, you will need to archive material you are already familiar with as you progress so that the information you already know is not added to your reviews. That means you can keep going until you’ve learned enough new material to fill up your review queue to the point that you’ve met or exceeded the threshold.

Lastly, here’s a link to our in-depth patch notes:

Feel free to come discuss or ask any questions in our community in the #platform-talk channel!

p.s. you might also notice a slight adjustment to the visual design with the updated dashboard... That couldn’t mean anything bigger, could it? 🧐

This update has been a long time in the works, we went through a lot of iteration and learned a ton about our system and the best ways to architect it etc. Overall an excellent experience and I’m really looking forward to what we have planned for next year. Early on, we’ll have another smaller follow-up update that will add a review “avalanche” recovery option. We wanted to get that published with this update but it didn’t quite make the cut.

After that we’ll continue to push out some smaller changes as needed while working on something even bigger in the background again.

As for the company, we’re not quite profitable yet, nor breakeven at current size so as a result, we’re still unable to hire more team members but! We’re still making progress towards that end. We’re about 700 new students away from our initial goal 🎉

There’s a lot to look forward to.

2021 has been a bit tough for me personally. I went pretty hard in 2020 to bring NativShark to reality but in the process I burned out far more than I thought I did and that really struck in 2021. Perhaps others can relate.

I’m proud of what we have accomplished together as a team and as a community though all in all. This year I’ve been focusing on building a more sustainable lifestyle and company in a calm fashion. It might not be as glamorous but it is fun, and rewarding:)

So, we have made it through and I can happily say that we’re all incredibly excited to take what we’ve learned this year and bring forth some amazing things in 2022!

See you then.

~ Caleb

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