Social Learning Theory

What is Social Learning Theory (SLT)?

Social Cognitive Theory is a learning theory based on the works of Albert Bandura. It explains learning processes in terms of triadic, dynamic and reciprocal interactions among personal factors, environment and behaviors.


Albert Bandura's Bobo Doll Experiment

According to Wikipedia, "The Bobo doll experiment was the name of two experiments conducted by Albert Bandura in 1961 and 1963 studying patterns of behavior associated with aggression. Bandura hoped that the experiments would prove that aggression can be explained, at least in part, by social learning theory. The theory of social learning would state that behavior such as aggression is learned through observing and imitating others."

Social Cognitive Theory in the Classroom

Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) implies that people learn a great deal by observing others perform a behavior. Hence, the most important instructional implication for SCT is to provide models of skills, behaviors and information for learners to model (e.g., live, verbal, symbolic). The teacher’s role is to model appropriate behaviors and to expose learners to various models of knowledge, behavior and skills.The teacher should promote self-efficacy in the learners and assist them in setting realistic, challenging and achievable goals. Also, allowing for collaborative work and rehearsal, and providing immediate feedback helps improve observation learning. The learners, on the other hand, engage in the observational learning processes (i.e., attention, retention, production and motivation). Learning, according to SCT, does not necessarily lead to behavioral change.

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Schunk, D. H. (2004). Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective, pp. 77-129. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson