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Examples first is a (controversial) pedagogical principle that states that a discussion of a few relevant examples should precede the formal definition (and perhaps in some cases the formal definition is not needed at all). This is in contrast with the more common pedagogical approach of define then discuss, that starts with a definition, and then examples are presented or discussed to reinforce or clarify the definition.
- Transfer of learning research suggests that learning transfers better from abstract ideas to concrete examples than the other way around; this finding is in tension with "examples first".
- My favourite pedagogical principle: examples first! by Tim Gowers
- Abstraction, intuition, and the “monad tutorial fallacy” by Brent Yorgey