Write a brief note on Observational Learning

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It is true that a part of how human beings learn can be explained by the principles involved in animal learning. But as we know, human learning is much more creative and is based on intelligent actions. Most forms of human learning are far more complex than a dog salivating to Pavlov’s bell, or a rat pressing a lever in the Skinner box, or a cat pulling a loop to come out of Thorndike’s puzzle box or a chimpanzee joining sticks to pull banana into Kohler’s cage. Human learning is not just an unthinking mechanical connection of a response with a stimulus.

Consider how a person learns to drive a car. Of course, some amount of sensory motor learning is involved. We should not ask the person to drive down the road, make mistakes, and learn from his mistakes through trial-and- error. In learning to drive a car, the person does not get behind the wheel, and makes random movements until the key is accidentally put into the ignition. It is not that he makes many false starts and the car accidentally moves forward, thereby delivering a positive reinforcement. On the other hand the person carries some knowledge about driving that he gathered by observing others drive. A great deal of human actions is learned through observation right from the childhood. Through observation, an individual can learn behavior even without having any direct experience of carrying out that behavior.

According to Psychologist Albert Bandura and his colleagues, a major part of human learning consists of observational learning, which is otherwise known as learning by imitation or modeling. But observational learning is far more complex than learning by imitation. Bandura defined observational learning as learning through observing the behaviors of another person, called a model. The model is capable of stimulating conclude that they generate different kinds or forms of learning. Both may as well be the different forms of the same basic learning process.

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