“DiSSS & CaFE” – Tim Ferriss’ Approach To Learning, And How It Relates To The Classroom

Have you heard of ‘DiSSS’ or ‘CaFE’?
These is Tim Ferriss’ framework for mastering new information, and it’s perfect for the classroom setting.

According to Kevin Habits, a website owner who has studied Ferriss’ framework, DiSSS stands for Deconstruction, Selection, Sequencing, and Stakes.


D, Deconstruction: Finding the smallest unit of knowledge. (For example, in learning a language, this would be a word.)

S, Selection: What will lead to the desired outcome? Habits uses the example of cooking on his website. He says, “For cooking, it would be basic knife-handling skills so you can cut, chop, filet, mince, and do whatever to your heart’s delight.”

S, Sequencing: What is the most effective order for learning this information? What are the steps? What needs to be learned first, second, etc.?

S, Stakes: What can you develop, or put in place to help you stay disciplined/motivated in learning this task? Habits gives these examples, “You could publicly announce your goal and a deadline, and have your friends keep you accountable” or “Set a calendar reminder to spend 30 minutes each morning before work.”

I think this principle is great and very applicable for the classroom setting. As teachers, our first goal is to break down the material into bite-sized pieces. What is the smallest unit we can teach? How can we take something and make it more manageable, applicable? Then how can we deconstruct our lessons so that they follow a sequence that makes sense, while focusing on the end goal, and staying on track to meet that end goal?


C, Compression: How can I compress the information into something that’s direct, manageable, and compact?

F, Frequency: How often should I practice? What are my limits or goals? (On his website, Habits says to set up a schedule.)

E, Encoding: How can I organize the information in a way that makes sense? What are mental tricks/acronyms, etc. to help trigger my memory?

I think this principle is effective as well. It focuses on our strategies in comprehending and remembering information. When we can compress information (for example, creating a cheat sheet/info sheet of a chapter topic) it helps our students to pick out, and focus on the most important information. From there, we can implement practice strategies to keep our students focused and help them master the material over time. We can also give them acronyms/tricks to help jog their memory when they’re required to perform for a test or assessment.

I’m planning on implementing the DiSS and CaFE principles in my classroom, what about you?




Featured Image Credit: JeShoots

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