• Social Identity Theory
  • For , and other learning tools, check out and
  • Understanding social challenges: the ILAUGH model

Summary of the body of social learning research, including support for and critiques of this theory, as well as future areas of exploration.

Explaining Social Thinking: the big picture in sound bites

Social Thinking and The Zones of Regulation: the journey continues!

The database containsbrief summaries of 50 major theories of learning and instruction.
Similarly, social cognitive theory differs from theories of human functioning that overemphasize the influence of biological factors in human development and adaptation.

The process of application enhances social organization.

Although it acknowledges the influence of evolutionary factors in human adaptation and change, it rejects the type of evolutionism that views social behavior as the product of evolved biology but fails to account for the influence that social and technological innovations that create new environmental selection pressures for adaptiveness have on biological evolution (Bussey & Bandura 1999).


Human agency in social cognitive theory.

The focus on process obviously takes us into the realm of learning theories – ideas about how or why change occurs. On these pages we focus on four different orientations (the first three taken from Merriam and Caffarella 1991).

At one extreme lie those unintentional and usually accidental learning events which occur continuously as we walk through life. Next comes incidental learning – unconscious learning through acquisition methods which occurs in the course of some other activity… Then there are various activities in which we are somewhat more more conscious of learning, experiential activities arising from immediate life-related concerns, though even here the focus is still on the task… Then come more purposeful activities – occasions where we set out to learn something in a more systematic way, using whatever comes to hand for that purpose, but often deliberately disregarding engagement with teachers and formal institutions of learning… Further along the continuum lie the self-directed learning projects on which there is so much literature… More formalized and generalized (and consequently less contextualized) forms of learning are the distance and open education programmes, where some elements of acquisition learning are often built into the designed learning programme. Towards the further extreme lie more formalized learning programmes of highly decontextualized learning, using material common to all the learners without paying any regard to their individual preferences, agendas or needs. There are of course no clear boundaries between each of these categories. (Rogers 2003: 41-2)

Social cognitive theory of self-regulation.

Behaviorism relates to a school of politics that developed in the 50s and 60s in the USA. This school represented a revolt against institutional practices in the study of politics and called for political analysis to be modeled upon the natural sciences. That is to say that only information that could be quantified and tested empirically could be regarded as 'true' and that other normative concepts such as 'liberty' and 'justice' should be rejected as they are not falsifiable. This is a version of what has been called scientific empiricism, the view that all beliefs can, at least in principle, be proved scientifically. Skinner has been roundly criticized for his political/social pronouncements, which many perceive as based on serious philosophical errors. His recommendations thus reflect not science, but his own covert preferences.

Social cognitive theory: An agentive perspective.

Social learning theory has sometimes been called a bridge between behaviorist and cognitive learning theories because it encompasses attention, memory, and motivation. The theory is related to and , which also emphasize the importance of social learning.

Social cognitive theory of gender development and differentiation.

Social cognitive theory is rooted in a view of human agency in which individuals are agents proactively engaged in their own development and can make things happen by their actions.

Development is an activity of the society as a whole.

When approached in this way it becomes clear that these contrasting ways of learning can appear in the same context. Both are present in schools. Both are present in families. It is possible to think of the mix of acquisition and formalized learning as forming a continuum.