Ask DN: Can Tim Ferriss's DiSSS be applied to learning design?

almost 7 years ago from

Can Tim Ferriss's DiSSS method for accelerated learning be applied to learning product/graphic/interactive design? If so, what would you recommend for each of the steps?

Here's a video where he talks about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSq9uGs_z0E

DiSSS stands for:


What are the LEGO blocks, or Minimal Learnable Units? What are the things that actually make up the skill? What are the failure points? How can you avoid those failure points for the first five sessions, while still learning, in order to build the habit?


Of those Minimal Learnable Units, what are the 20% that produce 80% of the results (Pareto)? What are the core components of the skill?


In what order should these things be learned?


What are the consequences you can leverage to make sure you follow the program? Consequences can be considered for what NOT TO DO as much as what TO DO.

The lack of stakes can also be used. What are the no-stakes or low-stakes ways you can practice without stress?


  • Ross JohnsonRoss Johnson, almost 7 years ago

    I would say yes... to an extent. If you watch any of his TV episodes where he implements these tactics you'll notice he doesn't become world class at anything he attempts, he just makes progress significantly faster than he would otherwise.

    2 points
  • Todd FTodd F, almost 7 years ago

    Snake oil applied to design? - that would hardly be new. I bet Dr. Phil already has a design book that comes with nutritional supplements.

    0 points
    • Ross JohnsonRoss Johnson, almost 7 years ago

      Snake oil might be a little over the top. If the question is, "Can the learning of design be accelerated?" I would say absolutely.

      You can take a poor approach to learning a new skill or your can take an optimized approach. Is TF's "framework" a good fit for design? Not sure... probably even depends on who's learning it.

      Certainly I see value in dissecting successful designs to understand why they are successful and identifying the most important skills of designs. This would be more effective than just opening up photoshop and trying to rack up hours.

      2 points
      • Tiago DuarteTiago Duarte, almost 7 years ago

        You can take a poor approach to learning a new skill or your can take an optimized approach.

        You took the words right out of my mouth sir. Well said.

        1 point
      • Robert Bloom, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

        Do you have any thoughts on what that optimized, accelerated approach would be? Thanks!

        0 points
    • Robert Bloom, almost 7 years ago

      What aspects of his method do you think are snake oil?

      Is it the idea that learning (or learning design) can be accelerated at all?

      Is it the deconstruction part? Is it the selection or 80/20 part? Sequencing?

      If you have the time and care to elaborate, I'd genuinely like to hear how you think it's lacking and could be improved. Or if you think it should all be scrapped and you know of an entirely different method for accelerating learning that could be applied to learning design.


      0 points