One of the most influential learning theories, the Social Learning Theory (SLT), was formulated by Albert Bandura. It encompasses concepts of traditional learning theory and the operant conditioning of B.F. Skinner.
However, the theory strongly implies that there are types of learning wherein direct reinforcement is not the causal mechanism; rather, the so called social element can result to the development of new learning among individuals. Social Learning Theory has been useful in explaining how people can learn new things and develop new behaviors by observing other people. It is to assume, therefore, that Social Learning Theory is concerned on observational learning process among people.
After his studies, Bandura was able to determine 3 basic models of observational learning, which include:
The Modeling Process developed by Bandura helps us understand that not all observed behaviors could be learned effectively, nor learning can necessarily result to behavioral changes. The modeling process includes the following steps in order for us to determine whether social learning is successful or not:
Social Cognitive Theory implies that you must pay attention for you to learn. If you want to learn from the behavior of the model (the person that demonstrates the behavior), then you should eliminate anything that catches your attention other than him. Also, the more interesting the model is, the more likely you are to pay full attention to him and learn.
Retention of the newly learned behavior is necessary. Without it, learning of the behavior would not be established, and you might need to get back to observing the model again since you were not able to store information about the behavior.
When you are successful in paying attention and retaining relevant information, this step requires you to demonstrate the behavior. In this phase, practice of the behavior by repeatedly doing it is important for improvement.
Feeling motivated to repeat the behavior is what you need in order to keep on performing it. This is where reinforcement and punishment come in. You can be rewarded by demonstrating the behavior properly, and punished by displaying it inappropriately.