Social learning theory

Explain social learning theory and observational learning using the appropriate terminology. Next, identify and describe an example of something that you have learned at work (recently or in the past, if you are currently not working) using the principles of observational learning/social learning theory. Explain how learning occurred using the appropriate terminology. Conclude your assignment with a brief reflection on how what you’ve learned could be used to demonstrate initiative on the job and how it could be used in networking conversations or eventually lead to possible leadership opportunities.

You need to follow all APA formatting rules so you should have an APA title page, an APA formatted reference page, and APA formatted in-text citations. The paper should be 2 to 3 pages in length and submitted in an MS Word document that includes the following:

Social learning theory is the study of how humans learn from one another by observing and copying behavior. According to Feist and Rosenberg (2021), this theory was developed by Bandura, who proposed that learners learn to perform certain behaviors by observing others doing the same things, and then trying to perform those same behaviors themselves. In observational learning, the learner has no choice in what they are observed doing; they observe a person performing a certain behavior and try to imitate it. Observational learning happens when a person watches someone else do something—for example, a child watching their parents practice driving or a student watching their teacher take notes on a test. Observational learning is also known as vicarious learning or observational conditioning.

Social learning theory

The theory of social learning has several important aspects: it assumes that people imitate the behavior of others, especially adults, and it also assumes that people often have different reasons for doing what they do  (Feist & Rosenberg, 2021). For example, if you see your friend playing with a toy car but you don’t have one, you might decide to get one for yourself to be like them. It is also important to understand the fact that there are various terminologies involved in this theory. These terminologies include observation, attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation  (Feist  & Rosenberg, 2021). Attention is the ability to focus one’s attention on something—be it an object or a person’s face—and then maintain it for some time. Attention allows us to focus on what we’re doing, be it reading or working on homework. Retention refers to how well we remember something after it has been observed. This is often measured by how many times someone must be shown something for them to understand what they’ve seen before.

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Reproduction refers to when we repeat something from memory so that others can understand it as well. Reproduction can also refer simply to repeating instructions back to someone else so that they’ll know how something works (such as “Turn left.”). Retention refers to how well we remember something after it has been observed. This is often measured by how many times someone must be shown something for them to understand what they’ve seen before.

In my most recent job, I was working on a project that had me interacting with a group of people who were much more senior than me. The project was to develop a new product for the company, and it was my job to help lead the way. One day, I got an email from one of our senior designers saying that she wanted to talk to me about how we were all feeling about our current project. She asked if there was anything she could do for me—like take my mind off things for a little bit, or helps me with something that was bothering me. I appreciated the gesture because it made me feel like she cared about what I thought and cared about getting better at her job.

But it also made me realize that if I had been in her position—if she was leading her team—I would have asked those questions too! It’s important to know how your team is feeling so that you can make sure they’re getting everything they need out of their experiences as well as themselves; if you’re not asking them directly, then someone else should be! I learned that the best way to take initiative is through observation. If you want to learn about something, observe what others have done before and try and apply it for yourself.

In the past, I’ve learned that when I’m communicating with someone in person or over email, I need to make sure that I am clear and concise. This is especially important when conveying information or knowledge. In this situation, it’s helpful for me to take time to think about what information needs to be conveyed, who should receive it (specifically our team), and how much detail should be included for others to understand what’s being said. I’ve also learned that networking conversations are an important part of building relationships within an organization and helping people understand each other better. By asking questions such as “What do you like about working here?” or “How did you hear about us?” we can better understand one another’s interests and build trust between us by sharing personal information about ourselves without feeling judged or criticized.




Feist, G.J. & Rosenberg, E.L. (2021). Psychology: Perspectives and connections (5th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN: 9781260721270.


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