Social Learning Theory
Three Key Concepts
Observational learning can be more than
just mimicking
Children are self-regulatory
Triadic reciprocal causation provides a
model for behavior change
Self-Regulation
By observing the consequences of
behaviors, children regulate themselves
By reward and punishment, also.
Observational Learning
Children learn to play games with complex
rules by watching others play. They infer
the rules and strategies
Triadic reciprocal causation
Person (P)
Behavior (B)
P
Environment (E)
A person who behaves well may elicit
positive responses
E
Peer pressure, parental pressure
Physical appearance
B
Five Skills (as a child matures,
she/he gets better at these)
Symbolization
Vicarious learning
Self-regulation
Self-efficacy
See the future consequences of present
behaviors
Self-efficacy
How effective a child feels about her/him
self determines the child’s behavior
If you think you are not good a something
you might choose not to attempt something
that requires it.
A slight over estimation of ones
effectiveness seems to be helpful.
This one area that clearly speaks to teachers
Vicarious Learning
By observing what happens to someone
else, children learn new behaviors.
Someone is punished for doing something,
so child learns, maybe, not to do that.
Someone is rewarded for a certain behavior
so …
Symbolization
The ability to abstract from observations –
The model does such and such and the
following occurs to if anyone does such and
such the following is likely to occur.
The ability to apply learning to new
situations
Four Components of
Observational Learning
Attention
Retention
Production
Motivation
Notes
Children react negatively to hypocrisy
Children do best if they slightly
overestimate their efficacy
Children are greatly influenced by models
Girls model themselves after female role
models
 Children of color need role models that look
like them.

Notes Continued
Children learn to “generalize” from a model
to be able to apply it or its behavior to other
situations.
Models and Symbols
Models must capture a child’s attention
Child must be able to “generalize” the model’s
behavior. (Convert it to symbols) (e.g. aggressive
behavior)
Children can deduce an abstract rule from a series
of experiences. (past tense use “ed” at end) (Most
kids learn the rules of a game by playing the game
and experiencing the rules
More on Models And
Observation
Demonstrate the appropriate behavior.
Ask learner to mimic behavior
Repeat the above two steps a few times
Observe and praise or correct performance