Observational Learning: Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory

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OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING The Social Learning Theory, also known as observational learning, involves how a learner changes behaviour and obtains knowledge as a result of watching others within their environment. Albert Bandura (1977) considered observational learning as the process that explains the nature of children learning behaviours by watching the behaviour of the people in their environment, and ultimately, imitating them. Observational learning will be applied to demonstrate how in the phonics activity, students act as observers, and the teacher as the model, where imitation of actions create a learning process resulting in the students being able to independently trace the ‘h’ letter shape, ultimately learning through observation.…show more content…
The first step of attention is shown through the teacher first introducing the activity in an exciting manner using a previously known Letterland character puppet to gain the children’s focus. The students are likely to attribute positive characteristics towards, such as charisma, intelligence or power. Retention is the second step, and in this phonics activity, the students are provided several opportunities to observe the teacher’s actions in both a larger group, during the initial instruction, as well as within smaller groups as they participate in the activity. The students are first encouraged to make their first attempts at air-tracing the letter shape with the teacher, or try to sing the song along with the teacher and peers. During the smaller group activity, children are provided more direct instruction and guidance from the teacher and concentrate more on the action and musicality of instructions. The use of the song, and opportunity to rehearse the model’s actions all contribute to the students processing and encoding strategies of absorbing the new…show more content…
Both the information processing theory and the observational learning theory place an emphasis on the ability of the learner to store and encode the information into their memory for successful learning to occur. This is the cognitive view working within each, however, both theories generally applied to the classroom setting can fall short in different aspects from the teacher perspective. For cognitive theorists, the student learning process is almost too similar and heavily based on the mind being equivalent to a machine. The information processing theory focuses on internal systemic processes, ignoring any social context or influences on information processing (Miller, 2011). This specific concentration on the internal cognitive processes leaves no room to reflect on the emotions of a learner. The potential effects on absorbing and retaining information when a learner is angry versus happy cannot be addressed using this model. Inside the classroom, teachers have to be very aware of the needs of the students, ensuring they are mentally and physically prepared to learn. Especially among the early childhood years where emotions are not completely in control or understood, the information processing
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