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by ericadbrown
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Observational learning is learning that occurs through observing the behavior of others. Albert Bandura, who is best known for the classic Bobo doll experiment, identified this basic form of learning in 1986. Bandura stressed the importance of observational learning because it helps people, especially children, acquire new responses by observing others' behavior.

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Observational learning

Erica Brown

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There are four stages involved in observational learning:1. Attention: Observers cannot learn unless they pay attention to what's happening around them. This process is influenced by characteristics of the model, such as how much one likes or identifies with the model, and by characteristics of the observer, such as the observer's expectations or level of emotional arousal.2. Retention/Memory: Observers must not only recognize the observed behavior but also remember it at some later time. This process depends on the observer's ability to code or structure the information in an easily remembered form or to mentally or physically rehearse the model's actions.3. Initiation/Motor: Observers must be physically and/intellectually capable of producing the act. In many cases the observer possesses the necessary responses. But sometimes, reproducing the model's actions may involve skills the observer has not yet acquired. It is one thing to carefully watch a circus juggler, but it is quite another to go home and repeat those acts.4. Motivation: Coaches also give pep talks, recognizing the importance of motivational processes to learning.


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