How to Incorporate Social Learning in the Classroom

August 26, 2021 / Learn About Osmo

What is social learning theory? Psychologist Albert Bandura’s social learning theory suggests that learning can occur through observation. 

While several behaviorists proposed that learning could take place only through association and reinforcement, Bandura believed that this wasn’t true for all forms of learning.

For example, even if someone has never held a baseball bat before, they would still know how to swing it based on seeing someone else do it – either in person or on television. This means they have learned to do this merely via observation.

The 4 elements of social learning are:

  1. Attention: If children observe something unique that catches their attention, they’re more likely to learn from it.
  1. Retention: For social learning to work, information learned through observation must be properly retained.
  1. Reproduction: This is the process of reproducing previously learned knowledge or behavior.
  1. Motivation: For example, if a child observes someone being rewarded for something they did, they’re more likely to feel motivated to do the same thing.

How you can incorporate social learning in your classroom

Flipped classroom model

Instead of teaching your kids, have them watch instructional videos or study reading materials at home. Then, when they’re back in class, allow them to apply what they learned through assignments. In this model, you act as a guide or a coach who enables the continuation of learning.


Playing games in class can improve chances of observational learning. Furthermore, when you reward a student for winning a round of a certain game, it motivates other students to perform well too.

Playing Osmo’s interactive educational games is a wonderful way to kickstart social learning in the classroom.

Peer coaching

Peer coaching enables learning through social interaction and observation. Just make sure that no child feels insecure about being coached by someone else. Help them see that it is merely an effective social learning approach.