In this article, we propose a new supervised learning approach for pattern classification applications involving large or imbalanced data sets. In this approach, a clustering technique is employed to reduce the original training set into a smaller set of representative training exemplars, represented by weighted cluster centers and their target outputs. Based on the proposed learning approach, two training algorithms are derived for feed-forward neural networks. These algorithms are implemented and tested on two pattern classification applications - skin detection and image classification. Experimental results show that with the proposed learning approach, it is possible to design networks in a fraction of time taken by the standard learning approach, without compromising the generalization ability and overall classification performance.