Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory focuses on how a person is able to gain knowledge within a social context, wherein he learns from what is in his environment, along with the people around him. In this concept, it considers that people or groups of people are able to learn from each other through various ways like observational learning, imitation, modeling, and more. With this idea, Bandura shows that the environment is a great teacher, wherein it gives the people the information or the knowledge that could be the basis of their character formation.
The theory of social learning is follows several principles. One is that people is able to acquire learning through observation of the behavior of other people, along with the results of those behavior. They don’t have to actually experience the situation some people are in so that they will learn. They could just look, observe and analyze other people’s actions and the outcomes of those actions. For example, a student may not have to be in a situation where he crosses the street and be bumped by a car because he didn’t look on both sides.
A teacher or a facilitator could tell him that he should look both sides before crossing to avoid accidents. Another is when the child learns from what his parents do, since they are the ones directly close to the child. Also, learning can occur without expecting any change or development in the behavior of a person. This is in contrast to what is believed by the other theorists, the behaviorists. They believe that learning requires to be represented by permanent change in a person’s behavior, which was strongly opposed by the social learning theorists saying that learning may or may not result to behavior changes.
Cognition is also an important aspect to consider as it is related to learning of human beings. Social learning theory is more on the cognitive aspect of learning. The behavior that people shows are their reactions towards reinforcements and punishments posed by their actions. Concept of Reciprocal Determinism Albert Bandura was also able to relate the environment and behavior when it comes to learning. This is what he called as reciprocal determinism: the concept where the world and a person’s behavior come into terms and causes each other.
He believed that a person’s behavior is an aspect that is able to influence and is influencing the person’s personal factors and also his environment (Bandura & Stanford University, 1978). The relationship is shown by the diagram below: Bandura’s idea was that a person’s behavior may be effectively conditioned in relation to the consequences that he experiences. It mold’s that person’s thinking, thus resulting to the behavior that he exhibits. He also associates it with the person’s environment, wherein this person’s behavior can have an impact on his environment.
The same relationship can be seen when it comes to the personal factors like one’s skills or attitudes and behaviors or the environment, wherein each of these can directly or indirectly affect each other. Putting this concept of reciprocal determinism on a classroom setting, this can be illustrated by how a child acts out in school. The situations is that the child doesn’t want to go to class, that is why his actions in his class shows it. He is not interested in the lessons, and is indifferent towards his classmates.
Because of this action, the teachers and administrators would develop as certain dislike on having the child around, since he acts like he doesn’t want to be
This environment is more restrictive in nature, thus leaving the child to feel differently. Both the behavioral factor and the factors coming from his environment corresponds with the child that’s why it leads to the continuous cycle of the personal factors, the environment, and the child’s behavior. With the concept of determinism at hand, the teachers and administrators could then further improve the management of their class. They are able to understand better why some students tend to be indifferent in their outlook of going to school.
Some students may hate going to school, but this shouldn’t be a reason for the teachers and administrators to hate the students also. They should be the ones to adjust and be considerate of the student’s situation. They should further encourage them to go to school rather than hating or disliking them because they don’t want to attend class. These people could devise a teaching program for these students to make them enjoy going to class, thus changing the perspective of the children who hate school (Wong, Wong, & Mensah LL, 1983).
The bobo doll studies. One of the primary experiments of the observational learning concept of Albert Bandura was with the bobo doll – an inflatable balloon figure the size of a small person with a weight at the bottom in order for it to bounce back when it is hit or knocked down. The experiment Bandura did was to first film a woman beating a bobo doll; punching it as hard as she could as it bobs back and forth while shouting “sockeroo! ” After it was filmed, it was then show to a class of kindergarten students who seemed to like it a lot.
After that they were let out to play, wherein the play room has a bobo doll and a few toy hammers. It was then observed that children imitated the young lady in the film, beating the bobo doll and shouting “sockeroo! ” for no reason. They were doing everything that the lady did in the film without being told to do so or without the thought of a reward. This experiment may not be as extensive as other researches would be, but still, it showed a lot for Bandura to establish the concept of the observational learning or modeling, thus this theory was then known as the social learning theory.
He afterwards made modifications on the experiment, varying factors, adding more variables, even changing the bobo doll with a live clown, thus getting the same or related results. He added rewards or punishments and other factors on that would register and affect the children’s reactions. With all these variations, he gathered all the necessary information which led him to various steps involved in the observational learning process. The observational learning process Attention. According to Albert Bandura, the first and foremost step in the observational learning process is the attention step.
This is where the learners should put in mind that they have to focus in order to learn. They have to be paying attention so that they will be able to learn anything new. Anything that may hinder or be deterrent to the learner’s attention would probably decrease their learning, thus slowing the observational learning process. This includes various feelings of uneasiness like being sleepy, groggy, drugged, sick, or even when you are feeling “hyper. ” Other stimulus that may catch the learner’s attention could also mean learning less.
On the positive aspect, something that could catch attention which is integrated in the learning model would greatly induce the observational learning process. This includes various physical attributes of the model, like the color and shape, wherein something that could be appealing to the learner may get them more interested in the learning process. Applying this to the classroom setting, if the attention step is properly assimilated by the teachers and facilitators, and then they would be assured that it would hasten the student’s learning. First of all, the teachers should consider the learning environment.
They should make sure that there are no external factors that could compete for the attention of the students. The classroom should be conducive for learning, like there are no unnecessary noises in the area, or there are no objects that may attract the students and lure them away from the lessons, like unrelated posters or materials placed inside the room. The students themselves should be attentive, focusing their attention only to the lesson being taught. The teachers should encourage the children to have a good night’s sleep so that they won’t turn up sleepy in class.
They should discourage going to class while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They should not encourage them to go to class when they’re sick, since it doesn’t make them attentive or prepared for any lesson, since they’re not feeling well. The teachers themselves should look presentable when showing up in class; the students would tend to focus more attention to what is being taught if it appeals to their senses. But teachers should not overdo it, since there is a tendency that the students would tend to focus more on the teacher rather than what is being taught. Retention.
After paying attention, Bandura emphasized that the learners should be able to retain what they have learned and paid attention to. The best way for this is to be done is through the use of imagery and language: forming mental images by means of verbal descriptions. Retention is important so that the learners would be able to “store” the information that they have learned for future use. When these are stored, the learner could then be able to bring up the learning by remembering the image or the description, thus making it useful if they want to reproduce it with their own behavior.
In the classroom setting, this is useful so that the students will be able to store the amount of information necessary for the learning process. This is with the help of the teachers or facilitators, wherein they are the once who encourage or induce the retention of what was learned by the students. The teachers are encouraged to use verbal description of a certain topic or concept so that the students could further visualize what is being taught to them. The teachers and facilitators could also utilize various visual aids so that the students will have a mental image of what they are being taught.
It is easier for them to further remember this whenever they need to reproduce the same behavior for their future usage. Reproduction. For Bandura, reproduction is the actual application of what was learned by the learners. For the observational learning process to be fruitful, the learners should be able to translate what they have retained into actual behavior. Putting in an actual classroom setting, teachers should encourage their students to apply what they have learned in the practical situations. The teachers and facilitators should devise activities that would require the application of what they have learned from class.
These could be outdoor activities like training camps wherein the students are given hands-on application of what they have learned in lessons like first-aid applications and other practical skill usage. This would induce the actual observational learning process, wherein they themselves could copy what they saw and observed from others and be able to apply what they have retained from the lessons in class. Motivation. The final step that Bandura gave was about motivation. This is the final part, wherein you are encouraging the application of what was learned in the observational learning process.
This is by giving the learner a reason to do so. Motivation may come in both positive and negative forms. The positive motivators include past reinforcements, promised reinforcements, and vicarious reinforcements. These things does not necessarily cause learning, instead it causes us to demonstrate what we have learned. Another form is the negative motivations, wherein they give the learners a reason not to imitate a certain model that they see from other situations. This includes past punishments, promised punishments or threats, and vicarious punishments.
But for Bandura, these punishments which are forms of negative motivations doest not work well as compared to that of reinforcement. Instead, these punishments could possibly disrupt learning when they backfire or result into something different (Sheppard, 2006). Applying this in a classroom situation, teachers and facilitators may use this to encourage the students to perform according to what was taught to them. They are encouraged to imitate or reproduce a certain behavior by providing motivators. This includes plus points in their grades if they have don’t have any records of absences or doesn’t come to class late.
Punishment doesn’t promise much of a result, instead, the students may tend to hate the teachers or facilitators for doing so. That is the part when the negative motivators backfire instead of inducing the observational learning process. Summary Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory or observational learning theory encompasses various concepts in the process of learning for people. It does not only relate the person’s environment to a person’s behavior, it also emphasizes on the importance of observational learning to fruitful management of classrooms.
Through this, Bandura is able to stress on how strongly the person’s behavior is attached to what is happening in his environment, thus various conditions may be taken so that learning could occur. It is a helpful tool for the teachers because it does not only encompass the understanding of lessons; it also tackles on the application of what the students have learned. This strengthens the students’ knowledge, making him a better person because of everything that he has learned from school.