General Principles Of Social Learning Theory 

In his study of the philosophy behind human affairs, “Politics,” Aristotle writes that “man is by nature a social animal…Anyone who cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to and therefore does not partake of society is either a beast or a god.” Humans are social creatures and, as Aristotle’s remarked on those who don’t consider themselves to keep a social distance, There is much to be learned from our human need to connect with other people. 

Sociability helps humans communicate and form thoughts, behavior and beliefs, and even the study of physiology. Imagine how easy it is to take on the habits of people you are in regular contact with. You take their slang and intonation and sometimes even the way they speak. We learn and grow from those we spend time with. 

Albert Bandura, a social psychologist, created an idea about this collaborative kind of learning. Bandura’s Social Learning Theory theory posits that learning is influenced by our environment and the relationships we engage in. This theory of learning, also known as observational learning, is based on how humans learn by watching and imitating. 

To better comprehend the Social Learning Theory, let’s reduce the theory down to the four principles of Bandura’s Social Learning Theory: 

1. Attention 

It can be difficult to master when you’re distracted from the task in front of you. The majority of us lose our attention when we don’t believe that the resources we have at hand can provide new, innovative information or aren’t proving to be beneficial to the learner. Bandura’s theory suggests that students can also maintain their focus in group settings, e.g. if the group is focused and the person is also focused. 

2. Retention 

Learning happens when we collect and remember information. To perform an act or recall information, the learner needs to be able to recall the action or piece of information. Without retention memory, the knowledge of the event or piece of information disappears. Learners can gather the information by observing other people; however, it doesn’t necessarily have to be taught by themselves. 

3. Reproduction 

There’s a Latin proverb that says repetition is the mother of learning (repetition is the foundation of learning), which is a reference to the premise in Bandura’s theories. We replicate previously learned behavior and knowledge and skills when they are required of us. Repeating these items helps us learn them in a cognitively efficient way. 

4. Motivation 

The simple explanation is that motivation is the driving force behind actions. If we watch how others behave and see how they are rewarded or penalized for what they do, we will be driven to emulate them or perform differently. 

How Are These Principles Applied To Training Courses? 

An easy method of incorporating the principles in the Social Learning Theory into your training classes is to conduct a review of your current training course in conjunction with your course in the Social Learning Theory. For instance: 

  • Attention: Is the course held in the group? Do you think it is appropriate to conduct the training in the group? Is the training able to draw the interest of the entire group? 
  • RETENTION: What elements of the learning will be remembered? Do learners have a hard recalling the information? 
  • REPRODUCTION: Can students perform the actions that are intended for them? Can they observe and recreate the desired behavior or provide the required information? 
  • Motivation: Are learners getting recognition/awards for their achievements and corrected for their mistakes? 

If your courses for training or L&D programs aren’t performing on these aspects, using discussions and group meetings will help you implement your Social Learning Theory and level up your education. Focusing on group activities can help promote positive individual learning habits. Alongside group meetings providing mentoring programs is another option employees can learn from examples. 

Another method of incorporating the fundamental concepts that underlie Social Learning Theory in your education courses is gamified electronic learning. Gamified eLearning programs offer motivation and give a feeling of a community. For instance, if your games-based eLearning courses have leaderboards, you could use the competition as a source of motivation. Also, suppose your eLearning allows learners to observe the performance of other employees/players. In that case, learners can benefit from seeing how others tackled a challenge. .. 

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