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Social Learning theory
• Social learning theory is based upon the work of
Albert Bandura. It is also referred to as Social
Cognitive Theory (SCT)
• This theory attempts to understand the process
that is involved in explaining how we learn from
each other
• It focuses on learning that occurs by direct
experience by observing, imitating, and modeling
It provides a framework for understanding,
predicting and potentially changing human
• Aspects of Bandura’s theory are that:
o children learn by observing others,
o the same set of stimuli may provoke different
responses from different people, or from the
same people at different times
o the environment and a person’s behaviour are
o personality is an interaction between three
factors: the environment, behaviour, and a
person’s psychological processes.
All 3 play an important role in the learning
process. They are constantly influencing each
Environmental factors would include
Social aspects - peers, family and teachers
and Physical factors - the layout or size of
the class room or the temperature of the
Implications for teaching
Social learning theory has numerous implications for classroom use. The theory revolves around the notion that learning
correlates to the observation of role models. In education, for example, teachers play the role of a model in a child’s
learning acquisition.
Students often learn a great deal simply by observing other people.
Describing the consequences of behavior can effectively increase the appropriate behaviors and decrease inappropriate
ones. Discussing with learners about the rewards and consequences of various behaviors.
Teachers and parents must model appropriate behaviors and take care that they do not model inappropriate behaviors.
Effective modelling teaches general rules and strategies for dealing with different situations. Teachers should model the
behaviors and cognitive processes they want students to learn. Effective instruction, moreover, should include multiple
types of models (e.g., teacher, peers, parents) and various forms of modeling (e.g. cognitive, verbal, mastery, coping).
goal setting is another central process within SCT (Bandura, 1986; Schunk, 1990). Goals reflect cognitive representations of
anticipated, desired, or preferred outcomes. Hence, goals exemplify the agency view within SCT that people not only learn,
they use forethought to envision the future, identify desired outcomes, and generate plans of action
In practice this theory will involve:
children working together on collaborative tasks
the less able working with more able children
teacher demonstrations
peer support
What is effective modeling?
Four conditions are necessary for effective modeling to occur
Attention: the person must first pay attention to the model.
Retention: the observer must be able to remember the
behavior that has been observed. One way of increasing this is
using the technique of rehearsal.
Motor reproduction: the third condition is the ability to
replicate the behavior that the model has just demonstrated.
Motivation: the final condition for modeling to occur is
motivation, learners must want to demonstrate what they have
• Bandura, A. (1971) Social learning theory. General
Learning Press.
• Bandura, A. (1986) Social foundations of thought and
action: A social-cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice Hall.
• Pritchard, A. and Woollard, J.( 2010) Psychology for
the classroom: constructivism and social learning.
London: Routledge.
• Schunk, D. (1990) Goal setting and self-efficacy
during self-regulated learning. Educational
Psychologist. 25, 71–86.

Social Learning Theory Presentation