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Example of Observational Learning

Observational learning is formally described as the systematic process of observation and recording of information to formulate principles. It's generally acknowledged as the basis of ancient science and learning. This is basic scientific method, and one of the primary methods of experimentation. Even in modern science, a process is observed, developed, and then subjected to verification and review. Observational learning is both the method of research and the basis of criticism.

Observational Learning involves learning four separate processes. These are: Attention, Retention, Production and Motivation.

  1. Attention – An observer must pay attention to what is happening around them in order to learn. The process of paying attention is often influenced by other factors such as how much one likes or identifies the subject they are observing. The observer can also influence how well the pay attention based on the observer''s expectations or emotional attachment.
  2. Retention – An observer must be able to recognize the observed behavior and be able to recall that observation later. This retention process is dependent on the observer''s ability to compose the information in an easy to remember manner or to re-enact the subject''s behavior or actions.
  3. Production – An observer should be able to reproduce what was observed, if not physically, then in an intellectual manner. Meaning if an observer is watching a magician or circus performer, they should be able to fully explain the act and mimic the actions, even if they cannot reproduce them exactly.
  4. Motivation – Observational learning requires some motivation or reason. A punishment or reinforcement either to the observer or the subject can often help this process.

Examples of Observational Learning:

Zoology is a primary example of observational learning in the fields of behaviorism, ecology, and habitat analysis. Observation is conducted at multiple levels to form a picture of the whole environment of the subject.