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Social Learning Theory—Albert Bandura

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Social learning theory (SLT) is often described as an intermediate between behaviorism (traditional learning theory) and cognitive theory. Behaviorism focuses on one particular view of learning: a change in external behavior achieved through the use of reinforcement and repetition to shape behavior which relates to rote learning. Cognitive learning theory advocates that the different processes concerning learning can be explained by analyzing the mental processes. Thus, SLT is a bridge between behaviorism and cognitive approach. In this chapter, we argue that SLT is still a valid theory supporting the teaching and learning of science. Learning in science is not limited to understanding co-construction of scientific concepts, but includes developing learners’ science process skills by engaging them to work in a group to solve the problem, to carry out projects, to engage in role-play and to conduct inquiry learning to make/construct the meaning of science concepts, issues, and phenomena. These activities in science teaching and learning reconcile with SLT which includes observation, attention, retention, motivation, and different types of modeling. Using this argument, we suggest that social learning theory reconciles with the principles of teaching and learning of science.


  • Bandura
  • Social learning theory
  • Observation
  • Attention
  • Retention
  • Motivation
  • Modeling

We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.

―Dalai Lama XIV.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-43620-9_7
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Fig. 7.2

Source Blunsdon, Reed, McNeil, and McEachern, (2003)


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Correspondence to Anwar Rumjaun .

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Further Reading

Further Reading

Crittenden, W. F. (2005). A social learning theory of cross-functional case education. Journal of Business Research, 59, 960–966.

Mesoudi, A. (2017). Pursuing Darwin’s curious parallel: Prospects for a science of cultural evolution. Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, 114(30), 7853–7860.

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Rumjaun, A., Narod, F. (2020). Social Learning Theory—Albert Bandura. In: Akpan, B., Kennedy, T.J. (eds) Science Education in Theory and Practice. Springer Texts in Education. Springer, Cham.

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