What Is Social Learning? Purposes And Specifications
Social Learning

Social learning theory is a pretty complex subject, requiring a multilayer understanding of the processes involved in learning. Today, I will share insights on the benefits of social learning theory and explain how social learning work with comprehensive examples covering different social learning strategies, for instance, when onboarding customers.

What Does Social Learning Mean?

Before diving into the importance of social learning theory (SLT) in education, let's look at the main principles of SL. This vision is often unintentionally applied by people. We do it unintentionally because this learning process appears during our social interactions and touches all fundamental aspects: gender, religion, social positions, views, and economic interactions. Those aspects are closely interrelated with the process of SL. It typically happens when one observes and analyzes behavioral patterns and reactions.

Concept Of Albert Bandura's Social Learning

Albert Bandura is the developer of Social learning theory(SLT). His idea concentrates on observations. Those observations' results help build models, allowing an imitation of observed behavior. It helps to estimate, comprehend and copy reactions, moods, and attitudes. He connects SL with two main aspects: a person’s mental skills and external elements. Despite highlighting external factors, he still claims that learning is not just a result of human interaction with society. Thus, a person’s learning depends on two significant aspects—cognitive abilities, skills, and the surrounding environment.

Social learning

Additionally, Bandura claims that it can’t be done passively, as it requires people to use their attention and process obtained via observation data. Learning in a social context means following others, processing the received data, and creating unique behavioral patterns that partially copy the observations. For example, advanced mobile LMS solutions also allow learners to interact by applying an institute of mentors, allowing people to learn collaboratively.

Main Principles Of Social Learning

So, what is a social learning approach? Let's stick to Bandura’s idea. He highlighted 4 main aspects that have an immense impact on learning. Those processes are complex and involve many layers of smaller processes. Still, for convenience purposes, we will provide a short and clear explanation of every process.

  • Attention

Before analyzing, it is vital to find and comprehend what behavioral patterns may come in handy and in which situations. This process requires awareness, as one must first notice that behavior. Usually, we see productive or counterproductive behaviors. While we select the latter as “useless,” the former stands out as a good example—the one we can comprehend, analyze, rework and benefit from.

  • Memorization

Depending on the observed situation and its complexity, one should retain the information for quite some time to process and analyze it. The more complex the case and behaviors are, the longer it takes to process them. Copying this behavior helps a great deal to memorize it.

  • Repetition

This one grows from the previous. Copying behavioral patterns is a crucial aspect. Often, we can’t fully reproduce the situations that took place in the past, no matter how hard we try. Plus, mimicking and copying every behavior is not the best idea. Humans concentrate on universal and effective behaviors.

  • Motivation

It is a famous cornerstone of any human activity. Without motivation, no social learning strategies can be helpful. All those steps, processes, and actions require a specific effort from a person. It puts reason to the highest rank of techniques. A learner must be motivated enough to ensure that the benefits of learning will surpass the expenditure. The more effective and efficient the copied behavioral pattern is, the higher chances that a person would be motivated enough to pay efforts to analyze, process, and then copy it.

It is important to note that social learning does not apply to everyone. The reason lies in personal trains and their peculiarities. For example, if a person doesn’t pay much attention and doesn’t concentrate on the products of their behaviors, they won’t benefit from this.

Pros And Cons Of Social Learning Theory

It is crucial to highlight every aspect of STL when discussing the answer to the main idea of social learning theory. Nothing is 100% beneficial. The same goes for the characteristics of SLT and its usefulness.

Pros

To begin with, let's highlight the benefits

Natural learning

SL is often done unconsciously, as it doesn’t require plans or schedules. It just takes some focus and doesn’t take almost any resources from us.

Mastering skills

It is an excellent way to master one’s skills. For example, AcademyOcean encourages workers to convey thoughts, backgrounds, emotions, and ideas and participate in work activities. It improves productivity and lets workers develop new skills.

Inexpensive

Gathering people is cheaper and allows sharing of their expertise. In turn, involving speakers or arranging a conference can be costly with unknown results.

People remember about 10% comes from traditional learning. In turn, 90% of remembered material originates from other sources. In-Person learning assumes social, emotional, and other factors. Even the voice pitch and jokes matter. It improves the overall earning effect.

Raises productivity

Employees collaboratively work on the product and learn new skills. This process shortened the time needed to allow the delivery of a more quality product to take less time.

Sustainability

Working collaboratively, with time, results in an unbreakable bond, resulting in high sustainability rates. Everyone knows the team’s capability and can find the needed answers.

Retention

A well-organized team where everyone feels they can adapt, progress, and develop is less likely to break. It makes employees feel happy and satisfied, raising their loyalty.

Sharing the information

A healthy information flow is crucial to keep workers engaged and allow them to track current problems and successes. It helps them to estimate perspectives and act efficiently, benefiting the whole company.

Speed up onboarding

When working closely with colleagues, getting all the questions answered becomes easy. Plus, one will continuously get tips on improving their progress and adapting to the working environment faster.

Cons

Increased risk of conflicts

As it goes from the social learner definition, the social factor is critical here. Human-to-human interactions are not always successful, as those involve various factors. Plus, copying other people's behaviors may increase the risk of conflicts.

Lack of innovation

Prioritizing behavioral patterns that lead to success may result in a complete loss of innovation, as people would prefer to use old and reliable methods than try new ideas.

Problems with self-esteem

Finding a difference between imitation and observation is hard. Things become even worse when people begin comparing results with others. Those who intentionally or unintentionally copy behavioral patterns perceive people whose behaviors they observe and reproduce in their aspiration to success. This approach undermines their self-esteem.

Self-doubt

This results from the previous problem. Suffering from self-worth issues, one may grow self-doubt. As a result, a person faces difficulties with productivity.

Social Approach To Learning In Business

Today, the market is rich with modern channel partner enablement solutions. Knowledge is no longer limited to libraries and universities. Businesses of various sizes use this opportunity to their advantage, implementing continuous learning in their working routine.

It is hard to overestimate the need for cooperative learning, as it helps overcome problems and challenges. Applying SL takes minimal resources while providing outstanding results. It is cheaper while engaging. It ensures a quick return on investment, benefiting businesses.

Effective Social Learning Examples In The Workplace

Workplace learning

Establishing a large-scale learning culture is a must goal. It creates a so-called knowledge-sharing culture, which benefits a business by giving it the upper hand against competitors.

Knowledge-sharing

SMBs and large entities implementing this strategy show the best results. Make it inseparable from jobs in your organization. Knowledge sharing becomes effective the more often people use it.

Friendly environment

A healthy and pleasant working climate is key to success, making workers very productive.

User-friendly software

Sophisticated knowledge-sharing and learning software are fantastic, but it won’t be helpful if it takes much effort. The rule is simple—the smaller the learning curve to use specific software, the better.

Social media

Popular social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are convenient, fast, and quick. Yet, those don’t match the business’s interests. Those social media take no time to swallow their users into the so-called social media black hole, feeding workers with a ton of distracting and useless content. 

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