Bandura's Social Cognitive Learning Theory

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The term learning is defined by the Oxford dictionary as the process of acquiring knowledge from reading and studying. This is a very formal view on how we humans learn on a daily basis. However, Bandura’s Social Cognitive Learning Model proposes that learning may occur just by mere observation of one’s surrounding. This process of learning may be also referred to as informal learning. This way of learning has been in practice since the beginning of our civilisation as a method to pass on the wisdom of the elders to the younger generations in order to perform day to day tasks. Bandura on the other hand calls this form of learning as Observational Learning. This theory evolved from theories of behaviourist like B.F. Skinner and Pavlov. Bandura added that cognitive factor needed to be taken into account and not just looking at it from a behaviourist perspective.He states that learning can only occur when behaviour is observed and is working together with cognition of our brain. For example as illustrated in the now famous “Bobo Doll Experiment” by Bandura, Ross, and Ross(1961), found that children who observed a model displaying aggressive behaviour towards the Bobo doll imitated that behaviour. In the experiment, he split the children up into two conditions whereby the children will observe either a aggressive or non-aggressive model. The children were then further categorized into male and female and made to observe same sex models. In the aggressive condition the

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