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Social Learning Theory by Albert Bandura - An Overview


A number of theories have arisen on the basis of how people learn and the pattern of learning behavior of learners. One such theory is the social learning theory. This theory is extremely beneficial for teachers, as it helps to explain how students learn from their environment. The environment contributes a lot to the personality development of students as well. The article provides a detailed explanation of the theory and offers examples of how it can be used in the classroom. In this article, we will be discussing Bandura's Social Learning Theory and how it can be applied in the classroom.

What is Bandura's Social Learning Theory?

Bandura's Social Learning Theory is a theory that states that people learn by observing others. This theory is also known as Observational Learning.  Famous Canadian-American psychologist Albert Bandura popularized the idea of learning by observing how others behave.

Albert Bandura used the Bobo Dol Experiment to demonstrate observational learning. As a result of this experiment, he developed his theory of observational learning which he published in 1977. He highlighted his idea of observational learning with this experiment. This study demonstrated how people learn social behaviors through observation and imitation.

This theory's central tenet is that even when individuals are not actively engaged in an activity, they can learn from the behavior of others. This type of learning does not require any kind of reinforcement, as it is simply based on the observation of others.

Why is Bandura's Social Theory Relevant?

Teachers can benefit from Bandura's Social Learning Theory since it can help to explain how students learn from their surroundings. According to this theory, people can learn by imitating other people's behavior, hence pupils can learn by imitating their teachers. If a teacher is using positive reinforcement techniques in the classroom, then students will be more likely to use these techniques themselves.

This theory ensures an individual's progress as it broadens the learner's knowledge. It also aids the learner in comprehending the behavioral variations among various people. This theory makes educators understand how the learners' surroundings can shape students' behavior and how the surroundings would help them to understand their learning concepts.

How Can Bandura's Social Learning Theory Be Used in the Classroom?

There are many ways that Bandura's Social Learning Theory can be used in the classroom.

One way is to use it as a way to explain why certain students might be struggling in class. After this, teachers will be able to come up with solutions to improve the performance of the students. If a student is having trouble with a particular concept, then their teacher can use Bandura's Social Learning Theory to help them understand how they can learn from observing others.

Another way that this theory can be used in the classroom is to help students learn from their mistakes. If a student makes a mistake, their teacher can use Bandura's Social Learning Theory to help them understand how they can learn from observing the actions of others. Only by understanding their mistakes, students can improve their performance and behavior. Hence, social learning theory has a vital role to play in the classroom.

Tips to Implement Bandura's Social Learning Theory in Classrooms

Teachers can implement Bandura's Social Learning Theory in classrooms through;

Productive Discussions

Encouraging questions and discussions among students is a way to promote social learning in classrooms. You can organize discussions based on books, movies, etc. In this way, you can improve the observational skills of the students as well as their communication skills.

Creating a Comfortable Learning Environment

Teachers can try to create an environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and discussing their thoughts. This improves their critical thinking skills and also can promote positive behaviors in students.

Conferences or Seminars

In order to provide students with opportunities to observe others, you can organize seminars or conferences.  You can do intensive research and invite guest speakers into the classroom or the schools. This would give students the opportunity to get learn about the life-changing experiences of these eminent personalities.

Suggested Read - What is the Difference between Seminar and Webinar?


Organizing workshops is another way to provide more in-depth knowledge. Workshops allow students to learn through observation and by practicing various activities. This can also be done by inviting experts to conduct relevant workshops and talk about the theory in more detail. You can also organize field trips to conduct different workshops or to learn via observation.


Social learning is an effective learning method that can be implemented in the classroom. Teachers can make use of the above-mentioned methodologies to implement this in schools. As already mentioned in the article, the theory has relevance in today’s learning ecosystem. This learning methodology can be used for the personal development of students and for the betterment of their behavioral patterns.

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