Albert Bandura developed a social learning theory in 1986 that posits a dynamic interplay between personal factors, human behavior and environmental forces. The result of this interplay is reciprocal determinism, a theory that holds that personal characteristics, human behavior, and environmental events influence each other and the individual in an interactive, ongoing manner.
Observational learning is a process that allows learners to observe other people and learn from them in a natural way. It is also called social learning, and is used in many educational contexts today.
It involves four different processes: attention, retention, production and motivation. The first two, attention and retention, require the learner to pay close attention to their model. The fourth process, production or reproduction, requires the learner to reproduce the behavior of their model.
The most important part of the observational learning process is motivation. Without the learner's motivation, they can never follow their model carefully and minutely.
Some of the best models for observational learning are athletes, celebrities and people who have experienced a lot of hardships. These people will be able to teach others how to overcome their own challenges, which can help them to better understand the world around them.
Another important factor is the social context in which the model is interacting with their followers. If they are more famous or prestigious than the person they are observing, then the learner will be more likely to follow their model's behavior. They will also be more likely to imitate their model's actions when they receive positive rewards (vicarious reinforcement) or negative punishments (vicarious punishment).