Socail Learning Theory-Lundgren



Social Learning Theory


Believing that direct reinforcement could not account for all types of learning, Albert Bandura proposed the theory of Social Learning. While rooted in traditional concepts of behavioral learning theories, Social Learning Theory posits that learning can also occur simply by observing the actions of others. Unlike other behavioral theories, Bandura finds that learning will not necessarily result in a change in behavior. Four areas must be successfully met to achieve a change in behavior: attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation. It is important to note that, in this theory, motivation can be both external and intrinsic.


Social Learning Theory has had a profound impact on the classroom. Educators have embraced the idea of modeling the desired behaviors. The idea of “role models” has also influenced parenting techniques, social services, and child care providers.

Example of Application(s)

For instance, in a preschool classroom, if the goal behavior is to have a child separate objects by color, the teacher would first model the behavior and then reward the behavior with praise or objects (gold star, perhaps).
At a higher grade level, if the desired behavior is the construction of a well written thesis statement, the instructor could model the behavior by composing one in front of the class. As mentioned above, reward (or motivation) could come in the form of praise, a good grade, or self-satisfaction.


Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Stanford University General Learning Press, New York. 1-46.
Created by: S. Faith Lundgren