Thursday, June 15, 2023

Unraveling the Magic of Observational Learning"

Observational learning is distinct from classical and operant conditioning in that it does not rely on positive reinforcement or previous experience to be effective. Instead, it makes use of learning through emulation. How does this intriguing process actually function, though?

Picture a kid watching their father use some tools to put together some furniture. A parent makes a thorough plan, gathers the necessary materials, and follows it to completion. The kid watches this whole thing with interest, even though they've never put together furniture before.The child will want to replicate what they have seen their parent do. They get together their own tool kit, watch their parent carefully, and then try to put together their own, smaller piece of furniture. Children learn by watching their parents successfully assemble something, and while they may make some mistakes along the way, those early observations serve as a guide. The youngster will become more adept at putting together furniture with experience and guidance.

The toddler in this scenario learned how to assemble furniture by watching others do it. They learned through watching and copying their parents' acts, gaining cues from visual cues and role models. By seeing the actions and reactions of those around them, we can pick up new skills and knowledge without having to go through the same learning curve ourselves. Observational learning is essential for many areas of human development and functioning, including the acquisition of new abilities and actions and the formation of new attitudes and beliefs. We can improve our own learning and development by taking advantage of observational learning, which occurs when we watch and mimic the actions of those around us.


  1. I find observational learning so interesting because we're doing it everyday and don't even realize it. I think the way you explained what it is and the examples you used were very insightful. I like how you mentioned that we can improve our own learning and development by taking advantage of observational learning because its so true and I feel like a lot of people who aren't psychology majors don't really think much about it.

  2. Hi, your blog post was very well written and included good examples. I feel like many people don't realize how much kids learn through observational learning, and tend to forget that kids may be watching them. I like that you added the sentence about observational learning being essential for developing new skills and I wonder if there has ever been studies done on differences in ability between kids who have the opportunity to learn through observation compared to kids who don't have that opportunity? Overall, you did a really good job, and this was really interesting to read.

  3. Nice post Zhaiona- Observational learning is indeed powerful. I'm surprised how fast my 2 year old niece picks up after me by simply watching me. Your take on the magic behind it is spot on. Observational learning is not just centered in Psychology, but it applies to our everyday life. I think is important for adults to be mindful of their actions around children because they are like sponges, they absorb everything. It's important you pointed out how Operational Learning is distinct from classical and operant conditioning. This was a very insightful read.