Observational learning is the learning that happens by observing how other people behave.It involves the observation and modeling of another person's attitude, emotional expressions, and behavior. Albert Bandura, in his social learning theory, stresses that individuals learn from the behavior of others as opposed to copying them entirely. Notably, social learning differs significantly when compared to human beings and animals. In human beings; the learning requires a model to emulate without reinforcement while in animals it requires and is based on classical conditioning.
Observational learning may significantly influence how an individual learns and affect his/her behavior. In the social learning theory, attention, retention, motivation, and reproduction are the requisite conditions that enable any form of observation and modeling behavior.
For an individual to learn something from a model, paying attention is a key aspect to master the behavior exhibited by the model. Human beings have been observed to pay more attention to attractive models.
The ability of an individual to remember the behavior witnessed enables them to imitate the model .thus for an individual to copy the behavior of a model, their retention capacity should be high.
The mental and physical ability of an individual is essential in copying the behavior they observed.
Motivation is a critical aspect of observational learning. For an individual to copy a certain behavior, they have to be motivated by a specific factor.
What influence does everyday exposure to social media have on observational learning?
Social media enables users to connect and participate in social networking as well as creating and sharing content. Almost everyone in the world today is exposed and has access to the internet for a plethora of purposes. The internet has exposed people to a myriad of platforms that include learning platforms and new ways of doing things which changes by the day. Notably, observational learning contributes largely to learning social skills among others. On the other hand, the influence it has might be negative and might have adverse effects.
The social media contains a plethora of activities which the users might be interested in learning. They range from lifestyle, mode of clothing, how people talk and behavior among others. Social media seems to set the pace for the current generation which people may want to imitate and live by the standards it has set. Thus, the frequent exposure to social media will enable users to get attentive, retain and reproduce what they see on the internet. Thanks to social media, most teenagers and young people who seem obsessed with the social media sites have started living the lives of the preferred celebrities as well as copying the lifestyle of popular people. Through observational learning, they can imitate their ways of dressing among other behavior which becomes their lifestyle too.
Also, given the rapid development in technology which spreads faster due to internet accessibility, most of the social media users have embraced new ways of doing things as well as adopting unpleasant behavior. Social media users assimilate news they find on the internet and adapt to the behavior they see. In some cases, the users become obsessed with the behavior they view from the social media and imitate it changing them entirely, either for good or for worse.
Bandura, A. (2008). Observational learning. The international encyclopedia of communication.
Bandura, A. (1978). Social learning theory of aggression. Journal of communication, 28(3), 12-29.
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