Social Learning Theory (sometimes abbreviated SLT) postulates that a child better learns new behaviors by observing his peers and imitating the patterns of behavior that are the subject of rewards and not punishments – that is the main concept of the “observational learning”). This theory is used in various fields including research, psychology, sociology, criminology and the “Planning theory.”
The social learning theory is derived from the work of Cornell Montgomery (1843-1904), who proposed that social learning occurred through the four main stages: close contact, imitation of superiors, understanding of concepts, and a model behavior to follow.
Julian B. Rotter moved away from theories based on psychosis and radical behaviorism, and developed a theory of learning based on interaction.
In Social Learning and Clinical Psychology (1954), Rotter suggests that the outcome of behavior has an impact on the motivation of people to perform that specific behavior. People want to avoid the negative consequences, and get positive.
If one expects a positive outcome of a behavior, or thinks there is a high chance of producing a positive result, then there will be more likely to implement such behavior. The behavior is reinforced, with positive consequences, leading the person to repeat it. This social learning theory suggests that behavior is influenced by factors or stimuli of the environment, not only by the psychological.
The theory of Bandura ‘s social learning defines three procurement procedures which have their source in the environment of the individual : so-called Vicarious learning is that resulting from imitation by observing a pair performing a behavior to acquire (trainer or member – leader – group); Social facilitation, which means improving the performance of the individual as a result of the presence of one or more observers – which makes group training a preferable option in many cases; Cognitive anticipation is the integration of a response by reasoning from similar situations – which will lead to the methods of cognitive educability.
Vygotsky had also worked on the learning theory that emphasized the social component.
Transposed to the educational process, it considered that learning process occurs first in a collective activity supported by the trainer and the social group, and further when an individual activity becomes an internalized property. Bruner adds an additional element: the role of “cultural atmosphere” of the individual. Learning and success of it also depends on culture – ethos habitus, symbolic system – in which the individual evolves.
John Friedmann has introduced the social learning theory in the theories of planning. This approach advocates learning by experience and practice of the groups involved in planning actions in their environment.
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