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Essay on Social Learning

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Within the realm of psychology, a plethora of theories exist that offer explanations about people. A learning theory attempts to explain how people and animals learn, whereas the social learning theories take to a different level; they attempt to explain how organisms learn in social settings. Three important concepts of Bandura’s social learning theory include observational learning, modeling, and imitation. Many factors take part in the way people behave and think. We learn concepts and ideas not only through hands-on learning but also through observational learning as well. Observational learning is a process in which learning occurs through observing and imitating others. This concept introduced by Bandura because he did not fully agree with operant and classical conditioning. The application of the social learning theory neither limits a particular developmental age group, nor is it only seen in particular settings. However, according to Legg and Mccaslin (2002), “as the learner matures the importance of how peers view the learner's actions and decisions may well super cede the opinions of others, possibly even the views of the learners themselves,” making the theory more prominent as one matures. Within the middle childhood developmental stage, a variety of learning settings were observed, seeing how Bandura’s theory manifested in children ages 6-13.
In Bandura’s theory he identified three types of modeling. The first type is live modeling in which a live person like a teacher demonstrates a particular behavior. The second type is symbolic modeling in which people or characters’ portrayed in written or electronic media are observed and a child models the characters behaviors. The last type is verbal instruction i...


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...arning. Observers imitate the behaviors of the model, as the teacher pronounced each word, the learners imitate the model. The teacher demonstrates how to use strategies and other learning tools to accomplish student goals. Vicarious Reinforcement was observed during our observations. This process increased the chance of a repeated behavior by one observing another. Some students saw others participate in a positive program and exhibit positive results, which encouraged other students to participate in the learning setting. The observations focused on production in which learners needed practice, feedback and coaching to address social factors in learning. Social factors, like physical, social, mental, and emotional growth will help learners become aware of their own abilities and cause reinforcement by situations that can identify with learning environments.


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