Determinants of learning through observation - Pedagogical psychology

Determinants of learning through observation

A. Bandura's assertion that learning through observation occurs independently of reinforcement does not mean that other variables do not act on it. He identified four processes that have an impact on learning through observation.

Processes of attention. A. Bandura rightly states that before you learn anything from the model, you have to pay attention to it. This makes one seek an answer to the question of what factors can affect the selectivity of attention. Of course, the sensory abilities of a person influence the processes of attention. The level of the latter can be determined by both biological characteristics and the influence of culture. The influence on the selectivity of attention can be exerted by previous reinforcements. Prior reinforcement can form a habit among the observer, which will have an impact on further observations. The characteristics of the models themselves will necessarily determine to what extent they will be focused.

Mnemic processes. In order for the information obtained during the observations to be useful, it needs to be preserved. It is preserved in the form of figurative and verbal symbols. A. Bandura argues that the behavior is at least partially determined by the images of the past experience, but the most important type of symbolization of the experience obtained in the observations is verbal. Although the consideration of figurative and verbal symbols is possible separately, they are often inseparable when events are displayed in memory. Stored and verbal symbols stored in memory make possible a delayed simulation, in other words, allow the experience to be used after a long time after observation.

Particularly curious is that very different data were obtained in the studies of a number of United States (JA Ponomarev, DV Ushakov) and English (D. Berry, D. Broadbent) psychologists. Studying the problems of learning during training, they came to the conclusion that a significant part of the experience in teaching a person acquires unconsciously, on an intuitive level. It is noteworthy that with such an "intuitive learning" the individual focuses immediately on many variables and fixes on the subconscious level the connections between them. These links are fixed in a specific form and are not generalized. Knowledge that is generated as a result of such learning is non-verbal and can be used to construct a real, practical action, but it is not suitable for verbal answers.

And, on the contrary, when learning based on verbal logical thinking, a person takes into account only a limited number of variables between which generalized relationships are established. The knowledge thus obtained has, as a rule, a verbal form. The latter method is usually used in educational practice, because it is fast and externally effective. But it is applicable in relatively simple situations, under the conditions of the existence of many irrelevant variables, this experiment proves to be unsuitable. This gives a special color to the rule so beloved by our Methodists: "First tell me what you will do and then do it!". This explains why high school students, as a rule, become good students and do not always turn into good specialists. An example here is that many modern specialists (psychologists, engineers, etc.) are quite definitely divided into two groups: one knows a lot, but often "few can", others can do much, but how can they do it, say are often incapable.

This circumstance is interesting for education, and that explains the significance of the physical presence of the student (student) in the class, even if they appear to him to be subjectively "useless." It justifies, for example, the struggle of the deans' deputies in universities for attendance and resistance (both explicit and implicit) to the externalization of teachers and administrators of education.

Behavior formation processes. Behavior formation processes determine how much the observed and learned experience can be embodied in real activity. Man, as we have already noted, can absorb a huge amount of information, but he is not always able to translate it into the plane of real action. For example, a person learned during the observation the character of the movements of the dancer, but he himself is not able to perform this dance. A. Bandura believes that the symbols captured in the observation of the model serve as a template against which the observer's actions are compared.

Motivation processes. In A. Bandura's theory, the motivating factor - reinforcement fulfills two functions. First, it gives rise to an expectation in the observer that if he repeats certain actions of the model, he will receive reinforcement. Secondly, it acts as an incentive to translate learning into imitation. According to A. Bandura, both reinforcement functions are informational. In this part, the theory of A. Bandura differs substantially from the general theory of behaviorism. According to A. Bandura, for learning to take place, neither reinforcement nor direct experience is required. The observer can simply learn through tracing the consequences of the behavior of others.

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