Monday, February 4, 2013

Differences between Operant Learning and Observational Learning


 Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior that is the result of experience. During the first half of the twentieth century, the
school of thought known as behaviorism rose to dominate psychology and sought to explain the learning process. The three major types of learning described by behavioral psychology are classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning.

Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is a learning process in which the probability of response occurring is increased or decreased due to reinforcement or punishment. First studied by Edward Thorndike and later by B.F. Skinner, the underlying idea behind operant conditioning is that the consequences of our actions shape voluntary behavior.

Observational Learning

Observational learning is a process in which learning occurs through observing and imitating others. As demonstrated in Albert Bandura's classic "Bobo Doll" experiments, people will imitate the actions of others without direct reinforcement. Four important elements are essential for effective observational learning: attention, motor skills, motivation and memory.

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