Analyze peer posts and provide a response with a new academic peer reviewed article. This is the feedback instructor provided so please adhere to their feedback as well:
The discussion board should be a “conversation” between you and your colleagues. I know you are sticking to third-person voice, but for the discussion board only, its OK to create a friendlier tone for this class. For example, instead try:
I see how you reflected upon certain aspects of….”
“In the post, Jackson reflects…..”
Post 1 – Author: James
ocial Learning Theory Benefits and Best Practices
Learning begins at birth and continues throughout life. Individuals can learn through their personal experiences as well by observation of others and knowledge of their experiences. One prominent theory related to adult learning that includes learning through observation and modeled behavior is social learning theory (Gibson, 2004). The purpose of this paper is to explore social learning theory with an emphasis on the benefits and best practices of learning through observation/modeling.
Social Learning Theory
Social learning theory has emerged as a significant framework for the study and application of adult learning and therefore has value for human resource development (HRD) professionals. The concept that individuals learn by observing others as existed since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, but the scientific study of the impact of observation and modeling on learning began to develop in the mid-20th century. The theory evolved and grew over time, with one of the more comprehensive versions of the social learning theory coming from Albert Bandura (1977, 1986, 1991). His version, which he later re-termed social cognitive theory, focused on the cognitive processes involved in learning. His major contribution was that individuals could learn through observation, not necessarily requiring direct imitation of a role model. This latter method could also occur, with individuals being able to learn either directly or vicariously (Gibson, 2005).
A clear benefit of observational learning occurs when there is some type of penalty getting the behavior wrong. This learning through the modeling of others allows an individual to avoid experiencing those penalties that might be associated with the undesirable behavior. For example, if an individual observes an older relative suffering the ill-effects of a lifetime of cigarette smoking, it is possible for them to avoid cigarette smoking, without the need to experience that painful lesson themselves (Ali, 2012).
Hanna et al (2013) note the importance of positive role models to leverage the elements of social learning theory. Specifically, individuals who have authority and visibility as leaders should model positive behaviors. The authors’ study focused on ethical behavior in business by analysis of the training presented in business school, as well as the example set for students by their professors. The authors also note that presenting pure capitalistic concepts without the importance of modeling and teaching the importance of ethical behavior and the pursuit of capitalistic goals could produce negative results. In the course of teaching business skills, the authors noted the critical importance of carefully selecting ethical role models associated with profitable businesses.
The exploration of social learning theory demonstrated the benefit of learning through observation and the modeling of others. Learning vicariously by observing others presents the benefit of avoiding penalties for negative behavior without experiencing those penalties personally. Modeling of positive and ethical behaviors by leaders in persons of influence provides an effective way to disseminate those behaviors throughout an organization. HRD professionals can also benefit through an understanding of various adult learning theories, including social (cognitive) learning theory. By understanding how individuals learn by observing others can help them incorporate best practices into their training and communication systems that will help to instill employee behaviors that maintain ethical standards and accomplish the goals of the organization.
Post 2 – Author: Lois
Social learning theory encompasses four different areas: differential association and reinforcement, modeling, and terminology (Brauer & Tittle, 2012), which involve how an employee identifies with the organizational expectations and rules. People will associate with their organizations when they understand expectations and the terminology the organization uses to perform duties; likewise, they will reinforce and model when executing duties (Brauer & Tittle, 2012). Another explanation for some of the factors includes personal adjustment or regulation of behavior and personal evaluation of their skillsets to meet the organizations requirements (Gibson, 2004). Organizations can aid in social learning theory by ensuring training is offered to all employees through the curriculum the organization offers and on the job shadowing and mentoring opportunities. When employees are able to witness others performing their duties, they are able to model and mirror the same behaviors as has been a way of doing things or performing job duties since ancient history (Gibson, 2004). When organizations have on the job training and mentoring programs, they aid in enhancing employee understanding of duties, culture, and organizational strategic expectations. Organizational leaders should be a model of the ethics, morals, and values the organization expects of employees, so the traits are copied by the workforce. When organizations have rules, yet leaders do not follow them, then the employee may take on the poor examples as standard operating procedures instead of the correct processes. This may result in workplace safety and poor performance issues. This is why it is critical for human resource development personnel to work with leaders to ensure they understand processes so they may be the example others will model after through mentoring and training practices. By encouraging leaders to practice what the organization preaches, they may aid in employees social learning adaptations.