Skip to main content

Big Picture Learning

auto mechanics photo



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: #1 learning must be based on the interests and goals of each student; #2 student’s curriculum must be relevant to the people and places that exist in the real world; and finally, #3  a student’s abilities must be authentically measured by the quality of her or his 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.

Each student at a Big Picture Learning school is part of a small learning community of 18 students called an advisory.
Each advisory is supported and lead 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 an Learning Through Interest (LTI) experience where he or she works closely with a mentor, learning in a real world setting.
Parents and families are actively involved in the learning process, helping to shape the student’s learning plan and are enrolled as resources to the school community.
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.