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What is Big Picture Learning?



Big Picture Learning Logo

Want to Learn more? Find out from the source: Big Picture: Who We Are

The Big Picture Learning design is a dynamic approach to learning, doing, and thinking that has been changing the lives of students, educators, and entire communities since 1995. The design components are based on three foundation principles:

  • learning must be based on the interests and goals of each student;
  • student’s curriculum must be relevant to the people and places that exist in the real world; and finally,
  • a student’s abilities must be authentically measured by the quality of her or his work.






How Does Big Picture Work?

  • The Advisor works with a small group of students to find what motivates and interests each student.
  • The Mentor, such as a contractor, engineer, merchant, etc., guides each student’s Learning Through Interest (LTI) experience. 
  • The Parent is actively enrolled as a resource to the BP community.
  • The Student (and peers) interact to reinforce each other’s passion for real work in the real world. The result is a self-teaching community of learners where no one feels left out, and each helps motivate the other.


A chart of how BPL works




What Else Should I Know?

  • Each student at a Big Picture Learning school is part of a small learning community of approximately 18 students called an advisory.
  • Each advisory is supported and led by an advisor, a teacher that works closely with the group of students and forms personalized relationships with each advisee.
  • Each student works closely with his or her advisor to identify interests and personalize learning.
  • The student as the center of learning truly engages and challenges the student, and makes learning authentic and relevant.
  • Each student has a Learning Through Interest (LTI) experience where he or she works closely with a mentor, learning in a real world setting. This can be an internship, a work experience, or an educational opportunity. 
  • The result is a student-centered learning design, where students are actively invested in their learning and are challenged to pursue their interests by a supportive community of educators, professionals, and family members.


Students checking out an LTI