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Important Observational Learning 2023 know everything

Observational Learning


Learning by seeing and copying others is referred to as observational learning. When someone watches another person perform a skill, they retain what they saw and later apply this information to their own behaviors. The social learning theory developed by psychologist Albert Bandura is frequently linked to this sort of learning.

A type of social learning is observational learning. It happens via observing how other people act. Other names for it include:

  • Shaping
  • Modeling
  • Simultaneous reassurance

It can happen in a variety of ways and is not dependent on reinforcement to be effective. This kind of education frequently entails monitoring the conduct of a parent, friend, teacher, sibling, or other person who is thought to have authority or prestige in a certain field. Observational Learning

Observational Learning
Observational Learning

How Observational Learning Works


Humans have a natural tendency to watch other people and then try to mimic their behavior. However, the actual procedure itself entails a number of crucial steps. How successfully an observed activity is learnt and recalled might depend on a number of factors, including attention and memory. Observational Learning

The following are the four main steps in observational learning:


  1. Attention
  2. Retention
  3. Reproduction
  4. Motivation



People must first pay attention to a behavior in order to learn it. One must first pay attention to what is going on if they want to learn anything. This frequently implies that the action must be distinctive in some way. Observational Learning

For instance, you might observe someone who is involved in an activity that piques your curiosity. For instance, if you enjoy basketball, you might pay more attention to how one player sends the ball toward the basket.

In some circumstances, this might include actually observing someone do something. It can also involve watching someone perform an action asynchronously, such as in a video game, movie, or on television.

What and how much people learn can vary depending on the events they are most likely to attend. For instance, studies have demonstrated that people are more likely to pay attention to someone they perceive to be attractive or significant. Observational Learning


Once someone has witnessed an activity, they need to remember it. How much attention the person first devoted to the conduct may influence how well the observed behavior is remembered. Observational Learning

Interference, time, interest, and motivation are additional variables that could impact retention.

Interference: Other factors in the environment that compete for attention may hinder the recall of the observed learning.
Time: If a lot of time passes between being observed and acting out the behavior, memory recall may also be impaired.
Motivation: Interest and motivation have a big impact on how effectively we remember what we observe. If a person is extremely driven or has a strong interest in what they are doing Observational Learning





Replicating the observed behavior is the next step in the observational learning process. The learner needs to have the resources and physical capacity to attempt the activity in order to attempt to imitate the observed behavior. Observational Learning

A rookie basketball player, for instance, might not yet be able to imitate the movements of a much more experienced player. Before attempting to mimic the observed moves, students must first close the gap between their current skill level and them.


Observational Learning
Observational Learning

The process depends largely on motivation, which is arguably the most significant factor. Even if someone pays attention to, remembers, and is able to repeat the behavior, they won’t have a cause to do so unless they are adequately motivated.

Many variables that can affect motivation for observational learning have been found by Bandura. Observational Learning

You are more inclined to copy:

Whether the observed model received compensation for its actions
Whenever the model is your same age and sex, or if your interests are similar.
If you’re dubious about your own expertise and understanding,
When you consider the role model to be more intelligent and competent
People who are more highly regarded
individuals with influence
If the circumstances are unclear

History of Observational Learning


Why has observational learning become such a significant aspect of psychology? Bandura promoted the notion that one of the most important ways humans learn new information is through observation.

People are always picking up new knowledge, and there are many different methods we might do it. Sometimes we learn directly from our own experiences, but other times we can learn a lot about the world just by observing other people. Observational Learning

According to psychologist Albert Bandura, imitation, modeling, and observation are three common ways that people pick up new skills.


The dominant psychological viewpoint at the time was behaviorism. The behavioral school of thinking held that conditioning mechanisms could explain all human behaviors and learning, but Bandura considered that these ideas did not give the full picture. Observational Learning

Bandura believed that rewards and punishments were crucial to the learning process, but that this was not a whole picture. Bandura believed behaviorism could not properly explain how humans learn for a number of reasons.

Learning Can Occur Without Reinforcement

Learning can occur even when a behavior is not rewarded or penalized. People can gain knowledge even if they never have to deal with the results of their actions. For instance, most people are aware that shoplifting can result in severe legal repercussions, including jail time, but we don’t actually need to go through the arrest, trial, and imprisonment process to learn this lesson. Observational Learning

Learning Is Not Always Immediately Obvious


He thought that people may learn things without immediately changing their behavior, in addition to learning without direct reinforcement. Observational Learning


Bandura’s Bobo Doll Experiment

Observational Learning
Observational Learning

In his famed Bobo doll experiment, Bandura showed how effective this observational learning can be. Children were exposed to video footage of an adult model interacting with a sizable, inflatable Bobo doll as part of the experiment. The doll was ignored by the model in some films, but the adult beat and yelled at the doll in others.

Children who had watched the video clip with the violent adult model were more likely to imitate the same aggressive behaviors when they were later allowed to play in a room with the identical Bobo doll. The experiment proved that young children may learn through simple observation and sparked more investigation into the effects of violent media on young people. Observational Learning

Similar to the adage “monkey see, monkey do,” People copy the behaviors they see others exhibit after watching them in action.

Examples of Observational Learning


Viewing some illustrations of this observational learning process in action can be instructive.

Educational Environments

Children can learn positive behaviors by watching their parents and other adults model them. Teachers, parents, and therapists frequently utilize modeling as a teaching strategy to assist kids in learning acceptable conduct.

Simply by observing a parent, therapist, or other adult model more appropriate behaviors, a youngster with behavioral issues like acting out and assaulting others may learn more effective ways of controlling their anger.

Home Settings


Imagine a young child watching her mother apply makeup, style her hair, and paint her nails. In a later attempt to mimic her mother, the youngster smears mascara all over her face, tangles a brush in her hair, and spills nail polish all over the coffee table. The youngster saw the behaviors that her mother had exhibited, tried to imitate her mother with varied degrees of success. Observational Learning

Every parent rapidly realizes that kids are always looking out for them. While it may appear that your daughter is playing quietly by herself and uninterested in your talk, the instant you utter a profanity, she is certain to repeat it—probably at the most inconvenient time.

Be mindful of your words and actions around your children because they are always observing and picking up new information.\

Factors That Impact Observational Learning

Additionally, Bandura proposed that a number of factors influence whether or not people end up imitating the actions they see. People are generally more likely to copy someone who is:

  • Warm and endearing
  • given praise for their actions
  • a person in charge
  • comparable to us
  • Admirable

Additionally, Bandura argued that when circumstances are uncertain or expectations are unclear, people are more likely to copy others. Observational Learning

How Observational Learning Differs From Conditioning


According to conditioning theories, learning is a reaction to associations that are learned through reinforcement or repeated pairings. Observational Learning

The two primary types of conditioning were first introduced by the behaviorist school of thought:

Combining a neutral stimulus with something that ordinarily and automatically elicits a response is known as classical conditioning. The initially neutral stimulus starts to elicit the reaction on its own after several pairings.

Operant conditioning is a type of learning that depends on the results of an action. Positive outcomes increase the likelihood that a behavior will take place. Observational Learning

A person needs firsthand experience to learn in both ways. But, as Bandura pointed out, not all learning could be explained in this way. Sometimes people pick something up inadvertently or without ever having experienced it personally.

Observational learning fills in this knowledge void. It describes how learning can occur without direct experience or the requirement to instantly apply what has been learnt.

Instead of receiving direct feedback, observational learning relies on vicarious reinforcement. People can also learn by seeing the results of other people’s activities, in accordance with Bandura’s idea. With this knowledge, students can choose if they want to repeat those activities. Observational Learning

Impact of Observational Learning

Observational Learning
Observational Learning

It is possible for observational learning to have both beneficial and detrimental effects.

On the bright side, this method of education helps speed up learning. Additionally, it lessens the necessity of directly experiencing the negative effects of actions, which can lower personal risk and learning costs.

This form of learning has the drawback of possibly teaching unfavorable behaviors. People may be more prone to engage in unhealthy behaviors themselves if they observe someone they look up to engaging in those behaviors, such as smoking or taking drugs. Observational Learning

Observing aggressive or violent actions in media, such as when playing video games, has also been proposed as a possible trigger for violent conduct by certain researchers. Other researchers, however, have not demonstrated a connection between actual violence and an uptick in aggressive behavior.



An essential type of learning that takes place via seeing other people’s actions is observational learning. The renowned Bobo doll experiment, which was part of psychologist Albert Bandura’s body of work, sparked widespread interest in the potential of this kind of learning. Observational Learning

People must pay attention to the activity, remember what they saw, be able to replicate it, and have the drive to carry out that action in order to learn from observation. Observational learning is a crucial component of social learning outside of the classroom and can be significant in educational contexts.

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