Observational Learning

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Observational learning is when learning happens by observing other people’s actions. Observational learning involves cognitive processes such as attention, motor skills, motivation, and memory. For observational learning to take place the person who is observing the behavior needs to be paying attention to it in order to learn it. Another important part of observational learning is being able to remember the behavior that you saw, so you can repeat it. As well as being able to remember the behavior the person also needs to be able to perform the behavior for observational learning to occur. Motivation plays a role in observational learning because you have to want to do the action for a reason. All these things are important in observational learning. Observational learning can be used on something more basic or more complex.

Learning to play a certain song on the piano could be observational learning. My friend had a piano and she would play it when I was over her house, she played one certain song all the time. I would watch her play the song as well as listen to the way it sounded. I learned how to play the song eventually from watching her play it so much. The reason why I paid attention to her playing the piano was that I liked the sound of the song she was playing. I already knew a little about the piano because I had taught myself how to play a very simple song previously, so I had the motor skills, which allowed me to be able to play the song. Of course I was motivated to play the song or else I would not have paid attention to learning it. The reason why I was motivated was because I liked the way the song sounded, and I thought it would be fun to be able to play a full song on the piano. Learning how to play an instrument is a good example of observational learning, but not the only type of learning that can occur.

Most people know how to cook, even if they have never taken a cooking class, this is because of observational learning. My friends and...
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