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What is the social learning perspective?


The social learning perspective was introduced by Albert Bandura, and it has become one of the most influential and widely used theories of learning and development. Although it is rooted in numerous concepts of conventional learning theories, he believed that in most cases, direct reinforcement does not completely account for all the different types of learning.

Bandura’s theory incorporated a social element in the learning process, and he stated that individuals learn new concepts by observing others. This is referred to as observational or modeling, which is a type of learning that is used to explain different types of behaviors.

Concepts Included in Social Learning Perspective

There are three important concepts involved in social learning theory. One of these is the fact that people learn as they observe other individuals. Another concept is that there are internal mental states that serve as an important part of the process. Lastly, social learning realizes the fact that just because one thing is learned, this does not always lead to changes in a person’s behavior.

According to Bandura, people learn when they observe, and it was based on his experiment and analysis of how children learn and mimic behaviors they see in others. There are three essential models of learning through observation such as a live model that is involved in an individual acting out or showing a particular behavior, a verbal instructional model that includes explanations and descriptions of the behavior, and a symbol that may be a fictional or real character that displays behaviors in films, online media or TV programs.

The theory also states that a person’s mental condition is essential to learning. Bandura explained that environmental or external factors are not the only things that influence behavior and learning. Intrinsic motivation can serve as a form of reward, and this includes a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and pride.

This also places an emphasis on internal cognitions that aid in connecting theories of learning to the different developmental theories. While a number of textbooks consider social learning perspectives as linked with behavioral theories, it is more appropriate to consider this approach as a social cognitive theory.

Learning does not always entail behavior changes since not all behaviors that people acquire are learned effectively. There are several other factors that involve the learner and model, and these perform a strong role in the success of social learning. 

By gaining an understanding of this theory, managers can devise ways to help their team members learn effectively and gain greater success as professionals.


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