Social Learning Theory

Posted in Human Resources Terms, Total Reads: 1395

Definition: Social Learning Theory

Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory revolves around observation and modelling of A's behaviour by B and the effect that has on the personality and behaviour of B. Social Learning theory was inspired by the Bobo Doll Experiment.

Bandura (1977) states: "Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action."


As per this theory, learning is a circle that connect three point of - cognition, behaviour and environment. The perimeter of this circle marks the continuous interaction between these three point.


Components of Learning

a. Attention

b. Retention

c. Motor Reproduction

d. Motivation


Therefore it can be concluded that learning covers both cognition and external environment.

Key Points

a. Highest form of learning is achieved when the behaviour of the model is observed and is symbolically enacted over and over again. If the model's behaviour is coded into words, images or a video, then the impact of learning is better than mere observation.


b. If the model's behaviour results in a outcome that is in tandem with the core values and principles of the observer then a higher form of learning is achieved.


c. If the model is similar to the observer in some way or has an admired social status then the level of learning is higher. The observer should basically look up to the observer in some way or the other.


An example of social learning will be television commercials that particularly target young children. Up until the 90's, film personalities did not have a huge contribution to make to the commercials that are displayed on the television between an show. But now, most of the brands vie for a famous film personality to voice their product. This in turn leads to expanding the effect the commercial has on the viewer particularly children.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Social Learning Theory along with its overview.

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