Learning is a continuous process. It occurs all the time. Learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as result of experience. Learning is not only importance to employee but also it is important for managers. It plays a vital role on training in organizational settings. It assists in optimally developing the talents and for effective performance. They guide the employee to engage the management to accomplish the goals. By means of learning employee gets confidence at work. Similarly, employee's behavior can be changed to improve their job performance, knowledge about work, attitudes, values and ethics of profession etc. On the other hand learning is not only important for organization and employee. But also it helps in social enlistment. Learned and citied workers extend the social reputations of organization. It can extend the brand loyalty of customers towards organizational product.
This theory was given by Tolman. He held that learning involved a relationship between cognitive environment cues and expectations. He evolved and tested this theory through controlled experiments using rats in laboratory. He showed that rats learned to run through complicated maize towards a goal (food), it was observed that rats developed expectations at every choice point in the maze. Thus, they learned to expect that certain cognitive cues related to the choice point could ultimately lead to food. In this situation, where rats got the food, the relationship between the cues and expectancy was strengthened and learning took place. Tolman approach is also called as stimulus-stimulus approach. These experiments embarrassed the behavioristic learning theorists. Reinforcement failed to predict rats behavior and it was no longer a prerequisite to learning. One stimulus lead to another stimulus rather than classical S-R or operant R-S interpretation. Indeed the rat behavior was purposive. In other words, they learned a cognitive map to determine how to reach food.
Tolman made significant contributions to learning theory by forcing the behavioristic theorists to evolve highly complex explanation of behavior and indicating and need to include cognitions in a mediating role between the environmental stimulus and the behavior. These theories exerted a strong effect on early human relation movement.
Social Learning Theory
Individuals can also learn by observing what happens to other people and just by being told about something as well as by direct experiences. For example, what we learn comes from watching models-parents, teachers, peers, superiors and so forth.
While social learning theory is an extension of operant conditioning that is it assumes that behavior is a function of consequences. It also acknowledges the existence of observational learning and the importance of perception in learning. People respond to how they perceive and define consequences, not to the objective consequences themselves.
The influence of models is central to the social learning view point. Four processes have been found to determine the influence that a model will have on an individual. These are:
- Attention processes: People only learn form a model when they recognize and pay attention to its critical features. We tend to be most influenced by models that are attractive, repeatedly available and we think are important or we see as similar to us.
- Retention processes: A model's influence will depend on how well the individual remembers the model's action, even after the model is no longer readily available.
- Motor reproduction processes: After a person has seen a new behavior by observing the model, the watching must be converted to doing. This process then demonstrates that the individual can perform the modeled activities.
- Reinforcement processes: individuals will be motivated to exhibit the modeled behavior, if positive, incentives or records are provided. Behaviors that are reinforcement will be given more attention, learned better and performed more often.