Observational Learning Overview


People usually gain new knowledge at the expense of their environment, and each individual chooses the most suitable type of learning process. One of the most common learning strategies is observation and conditioning, which can be both related and separate. These principles affect human life and bring many positive aspects to the education procedure. Learning strategies help people to become part of society and start self-development.

Differences and Similarities

Observational learning is an adoption of the experience of others, and it usually helps people adjust to quick changes in the world (Carcea & Froemke, 2019). Controversially, conditioning is a learning process when human knowledge is associated with a person’s environment and natural internal feelings.

The definitions of these two types of learning are different but can be mixed in one educational development. For instance, in conditioning learning, people develop reflexes by interacting with the environment. This environment includes surrounding people, who teach different aspects of life and increase observational learning. Personal understanding of the world has a huge impact on the observation of others’ experiences. Moreover, an extinction principle of conditioning learning always requires being around people, increasing observational learning.

Life Examples of the Observation Learning

While visiting new cafés, I usually struggle with finding sugar and lids for cups. However, by observing other customers, I become more oriented, and this problem does not bother me anymore. Moreover, when I travel abroad or to a different city, I always observe the most famous routes online and try to understand how public transport is used. Consequently, I am less nervous and always sure that I will not be lost. Observation learning usually manifests in children’s development, and usually, it brings positive effects. For example, by spending all their time with parents, children learn how to speak and walk. More mature children, being surrounded by peers, quicker gain communication skills.


Observational learning is an integral part of every person’s life as basic skills are gained by interacting with others. People build their relation to the environment by communication and inner development. Consequently, this type of learning can exist separately, but with the help of other educational types such as conditioning it becomes more advanced. Actions of these two strategies exist in many areas of life, and they usually have positive effects.


Carcea, I., & Froemke, R. C. (2019). Biological mechanism for observational learning. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 54, 178-185.

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ChalkyPapers. "Observational Learning Overview." August 28, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/observational-learning-overview/.