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.

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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.

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.

4 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.
Social learning definition comes from the fact that learning is a social process. Indeed, it can be done without the social aspect, but in this case, the efficiency of the process will decrease significantly. So, before diving into the examples of social learning theory, let's look at its main 4 principles.

Step 1: Attention

The first principle of social learning is attention. Before analyzing and learning from others' behaviors, one must notice and pay attention to them. This process requires awareness and identifying behavioral patterns useful in different situations.

Step 2: Retention

The second principle of social learning is retention. After paying attention to the observed behaviors, one must retain the information to process and analyze it effectively. The more complex the behaviors are, the longer it takes to memorize them for future reproduction.

Step 3: Reproduction

The third principle of social learning theories is reproduction. This step involves copying and reproducing the observed behavioral patterns. It requires a person to apply their cognitive abilities and skills to mimic the behaviors they have learned from others.

Step 4: Motivation

The fourth principle is motivation. Motivation is necessary for the social learning process to be successful. A learner must be motivated enough to put effort into analyzing, processing, and reproducing the behaviors they have observed. The effectiveness of the copied behavioral pattern plays a significant role in maintaining 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.

process of social learning

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

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.


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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Benefits of social learning theory for online academies

Social media learning theory is another rapidly developing aspect of today's world. Companies more and more often utilize its elements in the process of social learning, and not without a good reason. So, here is why this concept is so beneficial:

Improve communication

Learners can engage in collaborative interactions, which can significantly improve communication skills. Engaging with others and discussing various topics helps learners to share their thoughts, ideas, and backgrounds, leading to better communication within the learning community.

Increase engagement

It promotes active participation and engagement among learners. The ability to interact with peers, mentors, and instructors creates a more dynamic and stimulating learning environment. This increased engagement enhances the overall learning experience.

Increase productivity

By encouraging social learning, online academies can boost productivity. Collaborative learning allows employees to work together on projects and learn from each other, resulting in a more skilled and efficient workforce. As a result, the time needed to deliver high-quality products or services decreases, leading to increased productivity.

Overall, all types of social learning are a valuable educational approach that takes advantage of human interactions and social dynamics to enhance the learning experience. It involves paying attention to behavioral patterns, retaining information, reproducing observed behaviors, and staying motivated throughout the learning process. Online academies can benefit from this theory by improving communication, increasing engagement, and ultimately enhancing learners' productivity.

examples social learning theory

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.

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