Learning is a process, which brings together emotional, cognitive, environmental influences and experiences in order to make a change in one’s knowledge. As a process, it focuses on all the happenings as the learning takes place. Learning involves interpretation of concepts involved in the learning process and how the concepts are applied practically. Therefore, learning is the process of acquiring new knowledge, skills, values, behaviors and involves synthesizing different types of information. It may occur through classical conditioning or consciousness.
Bobo doll experiment acted as a demonstration of how observational learning takes place. This experiment demonstrated that children have high chances of engaging in violent plays if they watch adult do behave in violent ways. The experiments demonstrate that children learn what they observe in the behavior of the adults. They adapt to the behavior through observational learning. In order for the children to adapt the behaviors in their life there has to be reinforcement. With reinforcement, the children are able to reproduce the behavior that they observe. For example, children would form violent behavior because of the violent behavior that they watch in characters, in the television. Bobo doll experiment revealed that those children who are more exposed to aggressive model have a high chance of being physically aggressive than those children who are not exposed to such aggressive models. This also brings the issue of imitation in social learning. The children imitate the behaviors they find in adults. The results of the experiment also showed gender differences in the way children are influenced by the behaviors that they observe in adults. The experiment showed that children are more influenced in behaviors that they observe in same sex models. (Shaffer, 2008).
In conclusion, the experiment showed that children observing adult behavior are influenced to belief that this behavior is right or the acceptable behavior because it is an adult who is behaving in that manner. This works in weakening the child aggressive inhibitions. This means that even when the children become adults they are likely to respond to future situations in an aggressive manner. This compares to Bandura ideas for observational learning one must give attention to behavior for instance the children give attention to the aggressive behavior that they watch in the television, retain what they observe from the behaviors they watch in the televisions until the behaviors are envisioned in their minds. As a result of this process and continuation in observing the same behaviors, the children are motivated to act in the same way especially if they face the same situation in future (Shaffer, 2008).
The process of observational learning plays a great role in acquisition of motor skills in the whole life of a person. Observational learning is learning by which is stimulated by observing the behavior of another individual. The process of modeling is one form by which observational learning takes place. This is where an individual performs an action while others look on and learn from it. The ability to learn through observation is enabled by specialized nerve cells called the mirror neurons. These neurons are found in many animals especially the primate animals. The mirror neurons fire the same pattern regardless whether the person or an animal is performing an action or observing the other perform the same action. This allows a way for behaviors to be taken to the nervous system through automatic motor empathy. Mirror neurons help animals to learn various survival techniques, for example, lion cubs hidden in a certain place learns to hunt by observing adult lions hunt.
As a young boy, I accompanied my father wherever he went. This helped me to learn so many things because he could always explain various things to me. There are those behaviors that I learnt through being taught or being told that I should behave in a certain manner while there are some other behaviors, which I learned through observation. My father has a character of doing this very fast. He always does not like getting late or wasting a lot of time doing the same thing. He takes actions quickly and finishes what he is doing very fast. Whenever I observed him undertaking his tasks I always wished that I would be able to do the same way he was doing. I enjoyed observing him perform his duties, and I would always enjoy accompanying him as he worked. I used to pay a lot of attention in whatever he was doing so that I would also try to do the same thing when I was alone. Due to continuous observation on the way my father worked, I learned to be very swift in whatever I do or in any action that I undertake. This is a character that I have today. I have a character of liking to finish whatever I start; doing very fast and I do not like wasting time doing the same thing for a long time. I learned this one behavior from my father from the time when I was young through observation, and I learned to behave in the same way up to today.
Shaffer, D. (2008). Social and Personality Development, 6th edition, Belmont, Cengage Learning.