Social learning theory

The principle of social learning is fundamentally a social demonstration that takes place within the community we belong to. People learn their behaviour from their environments through observation, imitation and modeling. This statement is the basis of the Social learning theory. Furthermore, Social learning theory illustrates four key beliefs that explain the theory in more depth through observational learning, retention and context, motivation and reward, and finally state of mind.

Firstly, knowledge is managed through observational learning. Even so, watching and gaining knowledge individuals watch and learn behaviours as well. Bandura and other social learning behaviourists believe that social groupings have always played an important role in an individual’s learning. In this case, observational learning has many stimuli, these comprise of live models, verbal instruction and symbolic modeling. To demonstrate, young children use their guardians as models to teach them how to walk and speak. Also, teenagers will learn how to act or what to wear at school through their social groups. Tv, movies and the internet all have a large impact on how individuals act showing how symbolic stimuli also has an effect.

Likewise, verbal instruction also has great effect on individuals. Learning school rules and expectations from teachers and principals is an example of verbal instruction and how to act every day at school. Students learn how to act and hopefully act this way every day without constant reminders. Observational learning is a key aspect, but retention and context is equally important to learning and behaviour.

Secondly, Bandura believed that we learn through retention and context. One learns by internalizing information from our memories and we are required to respond to a similar situation. As a result, one recalls their past experiences and use that information to act. Retention can be affected by a number of stimuli, but the ability to remember information later and then act on it is fundamental to observational learning.

Bandura believed that information becomes memorable when it is attached to an emotion and social learning. Therefore, when people start talking about something, they usually related it to their personal experiences and then when it is stared with others, they relate to it as well. Just like when an individual discusses their first job and how they felt about it, similarly the listener will think of their first job and have emotions about how they remember their first job. With all of this in mind, Bandura explained how

important retaining and context is vital while adding how individuals are encouraged to behave or not behave.

Thirdly, motivation and reward are a key aspect of the social learning theory. With this in mind, social learning theory suggests that motivation can originate from being rewarded or punished. While, experiencing these emotions associated with rewards and punishments be highly effective, so can observing others experiencing rewards and or punishments. Clearly, an individual learns from how they are treated after behaving to a situation.

Furthermore, if a learner in is a simulate situation they will imitate or avoid the behaviour based on their past experiences. To demonstrate this would be if a student sees a teacher reward another student with a candy for being on time that observer might start to show up early every day.

Fourthly and lastly, there is the belief that the state of mind has a large role in learning. Bandura suggests that there is not only an external reinforcement that has an effect on behaviour and learning but, there is an internal reward called intrinsic reinforcement. In fact, internal reinforcement is the person’s emotions connected to the behaviour. In general, the internal reinforcement comes with the feeling good or feeling accomplished after finalizing a task or behaviour, this will lead to a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of self-worth or increased confidence. Conversely, if the behaviour is associated with negative thoughts then the learner is believed to most likely stop the behaviour.

Social learning theory is an important part of understanding individual’s behaviour. We are all social creatures by nature. Indeed, we all like to interact with others, observe our other members of the human race. Learning begins with observing and modeling, we do this to learn behaviours good and bad. After observing retention and context is used. Through this one’s memories are used to understand what is appropriate and what is not in situations. With using memories in mind, one is most likely to act in a certain way when rewards are recalled. Similarly, rewards play a large roll in learning behaviours, state of mind likewise is important.