According to Social Learning theory, models are an important source for learning new behaviors and for achieving behavioral change in institutionalized settings. Social learning theory is derived from the work of Albert Bandura which proposed that observational learning can occur in relation to three models:
Live model – in which an actual person is demonstrating the desired behaviour
Verbal instruction – in which an individual describes the desired behaviour in detail, and instructs the participant in how to engage in the behavior
Symbolic – in which modeling occurs by means of the media, including movies, television, Internet, literature, and radio. This type of modeling involves a real or fictional character demonstrating the behaviour.
An important factor of Bandura’s social learning theory is the emphasis on reciprocal determinism. This notion states that an individual’s behaviour is influenced by the environment and characteristics of the person. In other words, a person’s behaviour, environment, and personal qualities all reciprocally influence each other. Bandura proposed that the modeling process involves several steps:
1. Attention – in order for an individual to learn something, they must pay attention to the features of the modeled behaviour.
2. Retention – humans need to be able to remember details of the behaviour in order to learn and later reproduce the behaviour.
3. Reproduction – in reproducing a behavior, an individual must organize his or her responses in accordance with the model behavior. This ability can improve with practice.
4. Motivation – there must be an incentive or motivation driving the individual’s reproduction of the behaviour. Even if all of the above factors are present, the person will not engage in the behaviour without motivation.
Bandura is known for his 1961-1963 experiments utilizing an inflatable clown known as a Bobo doll in order to test modeling behaviours in children. Children were divided into...