How to write a learning theory paper

Here is a sample paraphrase: From Ron Bachman, "Reaching for the Sky.

How to write a learning theory paper

In its simplest form, social learning theory explains how people learn by observing the behavior of others. Bandura suggests that this process has four component parts — attention, retention, motor reproduction and motivation. Environmental and cognitive factors can influence the process as well.

The theory has many practical applications for understanding behavior in the classroom, and in society more generally. However, despite its far-reaching impact, social learning theory is not without its critics.

Social Learning Theory Overview Social learning theory is often characterized as a stepping stone between two diametrically opposed theories of learning Ormrod, By defining human learning as a function of both the environment and mental processes, social learning theory blended behaviorism — the dominant theory of learning in the s and s — and cognitive theories of learning, which gained prominence in the s and have remained popular today.

how to write a learning theory paper

Although many individuals contributed to the development of social learning theory, Albert Bandura — a Stanford professor whose career has spanned more than 60 years — is most often recognized as its creator.

The following summary will outline Bandura's work, showing that what began as a blending of behaviorism and cognition, has shifted more heavily toward the latter, following the lead of larger trends in psychology and education Ormrod, History Bandura's shift toward a more cognitive orientation, however, began very late in his career.

When he first started as a professor at Stanford inbehaviorism was in its heyday. In many ways, then, social learning theory developed in reaction to behaviorism — or to what Bandura perceived as its limitations in explaining human learning.

Bandura observed, for example, that human learning occurred much more rapidly than behaviorists had proposed. Whereas behaviorists suggested that learning occurs gradually — through trial and error and with the aid of reinforcement— Bandura believed learning could take place all at once, without any practice or reinforcement whatsoever, simply by observing other people Crain, Bandura also wanted to leave room for individual agency, and found behaviorists' emphasis on the role of the environment limiting Bandura, Emphasizing certain factors — like the environment — to the exclusion of others — like cognition, led to what he called "a truncated image of the human potential" Bandura,p.

Operant Conditioning More specifically, Bandura didn't believe observational learning — that is, learning that occurs by observing a model exhibit a particular behavior, and then imitating that behavior oneself — could be explained by operant conditioning, the mechanism behaviorists suggest explains most changes in behavior.

According to the operant conditioning paradigm, voluntary behaviors exhibited by either an animal or a human are modified by the consequences that follow; reinforcement increases the frequency of a behavior, whereas punishment decreases the frequency.

The voluntary behavior, or response, typically occurs in the presence of a discriminative stimulus, and the consequence, either reinforcement or punishment — immediately follows.

According to behaviorists, observational learning fits neatly into this paradigm Mazur, ; the behavior to be imitated the model serves as the discriminative stimulus, and the imitation of the behavior is the response itself.

Whereas a rat might learn to press a lever in the presence of a red light, and is then rewarded with food, for example, a young boy might imitate the behavior of his father, when in his father's presence, and receive a reward, such as verbal praise.

Lineros and Hinojosa add that instructors can also inadvertently create these behaviors through subconscious positive and negative reinforcement.

What is Social Learning Theory?

Why did Bandura feel operant conditioning was an insufficient theory for explaining observational learning? Why did he feel it was an adequate model for explaining some types of behavior, and not others? Bandura's criticisms were threefold Ormrod, Because operant conditioning suggests a behavior must be emitted first, and then shaped by the subsequent reinforcement or punishment, Bandura wondered how it could explain behaviors that are emitted correctly the first time.

As Ormrod writes, "The learning of an entirely novel response — responses that an individual has seen but never previously emitted in any form — is difficult to explain from a Skinnerian perspective" p.

Secondly, according to behaviorists, the discriminative stimulus, response, and reinforcement occur immediately after one another; Bandura pointed out, however, that imitation of behavior and subsequent reinforcement is often delayed.

Such delayed imitation suggests that learning occurs at the time the discriminative stimulus — in this case, at the time the individual observes the model —and importantly, occurs even in absence of reinforcement.

Thus, unlike behaviorists, Bandura didn't believe reinforcement was a necessary component of learning. He also demonstrated that learning and behavior are distinct from one another.

Finally, Bandura pointed out that people often imitate behavior for which they are never reinforced; simply watching other people reinforced for their behaviors is often enough incentive for an individual to exhibit the behavior herself.

Again, operant conditioning falls short in explaining this phenomenon, too. Principles of Social Learning Theory Given the limitations of behaviorism, and operant conditioning more specifically, Bandura's theory of social learning — which he first called a theory of observational learning - began to take shape.

Before delving into the specific mechanisms through which people learn by observing others, the key elements of social learning theory — as discussed by Ormrod — are outlined below.

As Crain elaborates, "When new behavior is acquired through observation alone, the learning appears to be cognitive.

Thus, Bandura, unlike Skinner, believes that learning theory must include internal cognitive variables" p. Bandura identifies four components to observational learning: Secondly, the observer must remember what was observed. Thus, the behavior observed must be retained, and this occurs, Bandura argues, by using two different symbolic systems — by representing the behavior in image form, as a visual picture, or by representing it in verbal form, as a series of instructions.

If a child is learning how to play tennis, for example, she may retain an image of her instructor demonstrating the proper forehand technique, and she might also retain a series of instructions, such as "I step forward with my left foot, turning my body perpendicular to…" Next, as the previous example suggests, one must be able to replicate the behavior.

In other words, the individual must have the motor reproduction skills to enact the behavior she observed.We will write a custom essay sample on Adult Learning Theory Paper specifically for you for only $ $/page. Order now We will write a custom essay sample on Adult Learning Theory Paper specifically for you.

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