Metaphors for Big Picture(-first) learning
Another metaphor. I’m getting addicted.
Seeing the big picture is about seeing high level relationships. Specifically, big picture-learning involves understanding how the various parts of a subject relate to each other.
A big picture approach is a top-down approach. A detail-first approach is a bottom-up approach.
When you want build something robust you first set up the structural framework, before filling in the details.
Before putting things together you have to know how to fit them together. Figuring how things fit together while building in the details is like building a house of cards. At each stage you are worrying about the structural integrity of the whole thing.
Big picture learning is like building a house (not of cards, something you would actually live in). You first build in the main structural elements before filling in the cosy details. This way, all you have to pay attention to at each stage is the current module. No distractions.
In practice, getting the big picture requires knowing some details (as in the construction metaphor). Nevertheless, one’s understanding of the subject will be enhanced, and one’s learning rate increased, if one tries to first figure out the big picture as much as possible before filling in the Devil’s details..