Ever wondered about how we learn things? Or, how our kids learn things? They’re little ‘sponges’ apparently, but what does that actually mean in theory? How do they soak up what they do, and why?
Before Albert Bandura proposed his Social Cognitive Learning Theory, the commonly held belief about why people did things was based on the idea of rewards and consequences. Behaviourism was the official word. If a child did something good, you should reward them, and they would do the good thing again. If a child did something bad, you should punish them, and they would stop doing the bad thing. In this way, when parents provided rewards and punishments, the child would learn to be good and not bad.
While behaviourists focused on how the environment and reinforcement affect behaviour, Bandura recognised that people learn by observing how others behave, as well as by observing the rewards and punishment others receive. He put forward the idea that learning occurs within a social environment, resulting from a shared interaction between person, environment and behaviour.