Social Cognitive Theory By: Kevin Mayhue

• The key contributor(s) of the Social Cognitive theory is Albert Bandura. He saw an issue with behaviorism and decided to explore more of the psychological processes of learning. He wanted to explore how people’s learning was influenced by others.

• Major components of the theory;

o People learn through observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors[1]. Bandura believed that, “Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.” (Bandura). Social learning theory explains that human behavior is a interaction between many different influences not just cognitive influences.

o The four processes of learning according to Bandura include:

 Attention — children must first have their attentions directed towards what they are supposed to be learning. We all know that many things influence how well a student can pay attention in class. However, this is the first component of the learning process

 The next step is retention — remembering what you paid attention to. The student must do what works for him or her to remember the lesson. According to the webpage titled “Learning Theories,” this “Includes symbolic coding, mental images, cognitive organization, symbolic rehearsal, motor rehearsal.”

 The third step is Reproduction — reproducing the image or skill that has be taught. This step requires careful feedback from the teacher or instructor to ensure that the student reproduces the right skill or information in the correct manner.

 The last step is Motivation — having a good reason to imitate. Students must have the motivation to actually learn the material. If they don’t see the point of learning or a real world connection then that will make it difficult. Includes motives such as past (i.e. traditional behaviorism), promised


• Teachers can differentiate their lessons to incorporate the theory by doing the following:

o First the teachers can demonstrate new skills clearly by modelling explicitly for the students. This will help the students in retention. Then they can praise students when they see them learning and answering questions correctly. Students shouls be taught how to embrace failure while learning new skills. Similarly, teachers should develop a positive technique for reacting to student failures instead of discouraging them.

• How the theory impacts classroom management

o Krystyn Hammond says in “How to Incorporate Social Learning Theory into Classroom Activities” teachers should plan a series of rewards for specific actions in class. Teachers must plan out deliberately and carefully what behaviors will be rewarded and why. This could include candy, parties, free time on Fridays, extra time at recess, and class parties. Also, it should be clear to students how they will earn their rewards in your class so that they can have a goal to strive for. This will make them want to participate and learn.


Hammond, Kristyn. (2017, April 04). How to Incorporate Social LearningTheory into Classroom Activities. Retrieved May 05, 2017, from

McLeod, S. (2016, January 01). Bandura-Social Learning Theory. Retrieved May 05, 2017, from

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