Why Is Social Learning Theory Effective?


Jane Flores

Social Learning Theory is a psychological concept that explains how people learn through observation, modeling, and imitation. This theory posits that people can acquire new behaviors and knowledge by observing others’ actions, attitudes, and outcomes of those actions.

According to the Social Learning Theory, learning is a social process that occurs through interactions with others. In this article, we will discuss why the Social Learning Theory is effective for learning.

Observational Learning

Observational learning is the key aspect of Social Learning Theory. It is based on the idea that people learn by watching others and then imitating their behavior.

When people observe someone performing an action successfully, they are more likely to try it themselves. For example, children learn many skills through observational learning from their parents or elders.

Effective Modeling

The effectiveness of modeling depends on several factors such as the credibility of the model and his/her expertise in the particular field. If a person observes someone who is credible in a specific area of expertise, they are more likely to imitate them. The quality of modeling plays an important role in determining whether or not it will be effective.


Reinforcement also plays an important role in Social Learning Theory. Reinforcement can be positive or negative, and it can either increase or decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. Positive reinforcement involves rewarding desired behaviors, while negative reinforcement involves removing unpleasant stimuli when desired behavior is exhibited.

Vicarious Reinforcement

Vicarious reinforcement refers to when individuals observe others being rewarded for certain behaviors and then imitate those behaviors themselves to obtain similar rewards. For example, if a person sees their friend getting praise for doing well at work, they may imitate their friend’s work habits to receive similar praise.

  • Increases Self-Efficacy:
  • Social Learning Theory also increases self-efficacy, which is the belief in one’s ability to perform specific tasks or behaviors. When people observe others successfully performing a task, they are more likely to believe that they can do it themselves. This increased self-efficacy then leads to more attempts at the behavior and ultimately better performance.

  • Effective in Real-Life Situations:
  • Social Learning Theory is effective in real-life situations because it involves modeling and imitation of behaviors that are specific to certain contexts. For example, a person may observe how their co-workers interact with clients and then model their behavior when interacting with clients themselves.

  • Applicable to Various Fields:
  • Social Learning Theory is applicable to various fields such as education, psychology, and criminology. In education, teachers can use modeling and observation techniques to enhance learning outcomes for students.

    In psychology, therapists can use modeling techniques to help patients overcome phobias or other anxiety disorders. In criminology, social learning theory explains how people learn criminal behavior through observing others’ criminal activities.

In conclusion, Social Learning Theory is an effective method of learning because it involves observing others’ behaviors and actions and then modeling them through imitation. The theory also emphasizes the importance of reinforcement in shaping behavior patterns. Furthermore, Social Learning Theory increases self-efficacy and is applicable in various fields such as education, psychology, and criminology.