Social learning is learning that takes place at a wider scale than individual or group learning, up to a societal scale, through social interaction between peers. It may or may not lead to a change in attitudes and behavior. More specifically, to be considered social learning, a process must: (1) Demonstrate that a change in understanding has taken place in the individuals involved. (2) Demonstrate that this change goes beyond the individual and becomes situated within wider social units or communities of practice. (3) Occur through social interactions and processes between actors within a social network.
Providing students with high quality learning activities in relevant situations beyond the walls of the classroom is vital for helping students appreciate their first hand experiences from a variety of different perspectives. Experiences outside the classroom also enhance learning by providing students with opportunities to practice skills of enquiry, values analysis and clarification and problem solving in everyday situations.
The Social Process in Learning in and out of the classroom:
1. Classroom Discussion
Discussion, as a teaching strategy, provides the opportunity for learning in innovative, creative, and interesting ways for both the teacher and the students. It is divergences from the norm, which can help students learn more than what they usually, are capable of by drawing their interests. 2. Reciprocal Teaching
Reciprocal teaching is an instructional activity that takes the form of a dialogue between teachers and students regarding segments of text for the purpose of constructing the meaning of text. Reciprocal teaching is a reading technique which is thought to promote the teaching process. A reciprocal approach provides students with four specific reading strategies that are actively and consciously used to support comprehension: Questioning, Clarifying, Summarizing, and Predicting. Palincsar (1986) believes the purpose of reciprocal teaching is to facilitate a group effort between teacher and students as well as among students in the task of bringing meaning to the text. Reciprocal teaching is best represented as a dialogue between teachers and students in which participants take turns assuming the role of teacher. 3. Cooperative Learning
Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. 4. Peer Tutoring
Peer tutoring is commonly used to describe tutoring that is done between two people who are close in age and at a similar academic level. For instance, a high school senior who helps another high school senior in physics class would be considered peer tutoring. A high school junior who helps a high school freshman in biology would also be considered peer tutoring because both students are in high school, and therefore they are technically "peers."
Many high schools, middle schools and colleges have peer tutoring programs in which individuals who have done well in certain classes sign up to help others with the class. For many students, a peer tutor is just what they need to get back on track.
Other students may require a professional tutor, who may have more experience and resources available to help the student. 5. Communities of learning
A community can be described as a group of people whose identities within the group are defined by the form of their participation, interactions and relationships within the activities of the group. A community of learning is a community whose purpose is to engage and promote activities and interactions that allow for individual socially-constructed learning. 6. Use of Computerized Technologies
Today’s children are the first generation of the “digital age.” They are being raised in a society that is changing rapidly as a result of the influx of new computer-based technologies that provide more pervasive and faster worldwide links to commerce, communication, and culture.
Through the use of advanced computing and telecommunications technology, learning can also be qualitatively different. The process of learning in the classroom can become significantly richer as students have access to new and different types of information, can manipulate it on the computer through graphic displays or controlled experiments in ways never before possible, and can communicate their results and conclusions in a variety of media to their teacher, students in the next classroom, or students around the world. For example, using technology, students can collect and graph real-time weather, environmental, and populations data from their community, use that data to create color maps and graphs, and then compare these maps to others created by students in other communities. Similarly, instead of reading about the human circulatory system and seeing textbook pictures depicting blood flow, students can use technology to see blood moving through veins and arteries, watch the process of oxygen entering the bloodstream, and experiment to understand the effects of increased pulse or cholesterol-filled arteries on blood flow.