• Learning theories focus on how people learn
and acquire new knowledge.
• This is an interdisciplinary topic of interest that
often draws upon information from psychology,
education, instructional design, and other areas.
• Rooted in the work of Ivan Pavlov, who was able
to train dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell.
• It is facilitated through concepts such as
modeling and observational learning.
• People, especially children, learn from the
environment and seek acceptance from society
by learning through influential models.
• Social learning theory is a perspective that
states that social behavior is learned primarily
by observing and imitating the actions of others.
• The social behavior is also influenced by being
rewarded and/or punished for these actions.
• Social learning theory was derived in an attempt
by Robert Sears and other scholars to merge
psychoanalytic with stimulus-response learning
theory into an inclusive explanation of human
• Sears and others drew their conclusions from the
psychoanalysis and the rigor of
• Albert Bandura, conversely, abandoned the
psychoanalytic and drive features of the
approach. His approach emphasized cognitive
and information-processing capabilities that
facilitate social behavior.
• Julian Rotter also developed a learning theory.
• In Social Learning and Clinical
Psychology (1954), Rotter suggests that the
effect of behaviour has an impact on the
motivation of people to engage in that specific
• People wish to avoid negative consequences,
while desiring positive results or effects.
• If one expects a positive outcome from a
behaviour, or thinks there is a high probability of
a positive outcome, then they will be more likely
to engage in that behaviour.
• Albert Bandura expanded on Rotter's idea, as
well as earlier work by Miller & Dollard, and is
related to social learning theories of Vygotsky
• This theory incorporates aspects of behavioral
and cognitive learning. This is proven by the
• Bandura uses these complex behaviors of
reciprocal determinism to help illustrate the
interactive effect of various factors such as the
environment, behavior, and internal events that
Law of Effect
• The law of effect principle developed by Edward
• suggested that responses closely followed by
satisfaction will become firmly attached to the
situation and therefore more likely to reoccur
when the situation is repeated.
• Conversely, if the situation is followed by
discomfort, the connections to the situation will
become weaker and the behaviour of response is
less likely to occur when the situation is
Law of Effect
• Edward Thorndike’s work on learning theory that
lead to the development of operant conditioning
• Skinner wasn’t the first psychologist to study
learning by consequences. Indeed, Skinner's
theory of operant conditioning is built on the
ideas of Edward Thorndike.
• Thorndike (1898) studied learning in animals
(usually cats). He devised a classic experiment
in which he used a puzzle box to empirically
test the laws of learning.
• Learning theory is a broad term that includes
multiple theories of behavior that are based on
the learning process.
Social Cognitive Theory
• Pavlov’s theory is known as classical
• The dogs’ salivation was an automatic response
to the presence of meat.
• By pairing the presentation of the meat with the
ringing of a bell, Pavlov was able to condition
the dogs to respond to a new stimulus (the
• Eventually, the dogs salivated when they heard
the bell, even when...
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