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PLCs and Social Learning Theory

PLCs and Social Learning Theory

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson you will review the components of social learning theory.

In this lesson, you will understand reciprocal determinism.

In this lesson, you will apply social learning theory to PLC.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe, and in our video lesson today, we will be looking at PLCs, Professional Learning Communities, and social learning theory. As we learn about this topic, we will work toward several learning objectives, and together, we'll use the following two questions to guide our learning-- what is social learning theory, and how can social learning theory be applied to your professional learning communities?

Let's start with a review of social learning theory. Albert Bandura developed this theory that emphasizes that we learn by observing, imitating, and modeling. We think about actions and consequences and act accordingly, he says. There's reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences. Essentially, all of these domains cause and influence each other as we learn.

There are five different components of social learning theory, and these include the fact that learning occurs in social contexts. This is a very cognitive process.

Learning occurs through observations of behaviors and consequences. So maybe a student observes another student and then acts accordingly. He might model or imitate things that worked well.

Learning occurs when information is gathered and decisions are made from observations.

Learning occurs sometimes through reinforcement but not always. This does not have to be the case.

And learning occurs as a result of reciprocal learning. The learner is not always just a passive recipient of this information. All different kinds of things affect and influence reciprocal learning. Cognition, environment, and behavior all mutually influence each other.

Reciprocal determinism is an important piece of the puzzle of social learning theory. This is the idea that each piece influences the others. For example, the teacher is influenced by the students and learning environment, but students also influence the learning environment. This is just one example. There's many examples of how all of these categories interact and influence each other.

So how do these ideas apply to professional learning communities? Professional learning communities can support social learning theory by creating opportunities for collaboration, observation, and modeling. The professional learning community offers opportunities for professional growth. They offer opportunities for peer-to-peer collaboration and dialogue and things like coaching and mentoring.

Let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the following questions-- what is social learning theory, and how can social learning theory be applied to your professional learning communities? We discussed the professional learning community and how it connected to Bandura's idea of social learning theory.

Since PLCs or Professional Learning Communities are centered around the importance of collaboration, there are many opportunities to observe and model behaviors, and these observations and the modeling of behavior can lead to professional growth opportunities as well as opportunities to connect and collaborate, coach, and mentor others in your school.

Now that you're more familiar with these concepts, let's reflect. What components of social learning theory will you use in your professional learning community, and why? What are the challenges to applying social learning theory to your professional learning community?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson, professional learning communities and social learning theory. I hope you found value in this video lesson and you're able to apply these ideas about social learning theory and how those relate with professional learning communities to your very own teaching.

For more information on how to apply what you've learned in this video, please see the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The additional resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on “PLCs and Social Learning Theory”


(00:00- 00:24) Intro/Objectives

(00:25- 00:52) What is Social Learning Theory?

(00:53- 01:44) 5 Components of Social Learning Theory  

(01:45- 02:09) Reciprocal Determinism  

(02:10- 02:35) Social Learning Theory and the PLC

(02:36- 03:15) Recap

(03:16- 04:06) Reflection     

Additional Resources

The PLP model: Research-based professional learning

This article makes a strong connection between social learning theory and its application in a Professional Learning Community.

Teachers Learning Together to Enact Culturally Relevant Pedagogy for English Learners: A Call to Reclaim PLCs 

This article draws on best practices of Professional Learning Communities to improve practice in English Language Learner classrooms. The article also connects the tenets of PLC with culturally relevant pedagogy.