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How to leverage Vicarious Learning Theory in Online Learning


Vicarious learning can be defined as a chance or an opportunity that lets the individual learn from examining the actions of others by using our unusual human metacognitive ability to create learning opportunities. In simple, it is a way that a human learns through the experience of a different human.

Humans having metacognitive ability lets help them to learn a new behavior or strengthen a capability without necessarily acting themselves. Vicarious learning lets people learn from both positive and negative events through structured observation, evaluation, and internalization.

Vicarious learning is far over role modeling. You can say that it is much more of a conscious, deeper process that involves considering obvious behavioral sequences, understanding what people do. Such type of learning involves sensing and feeling, then listening and evaluating. It’s mostly quite simple following the behavior or actions of somebody who is considered to be a competent or a worthy leader. It includes actively forming an opinion and choosing to incorporate or avoid specific actions. Later on, the learners observe others doing, and also the outcome of the action.


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Difference between Vicarious Learning and Observational Learning

Vicarious learning and observing learning are somewhat similar in most ways. They are exactly not the same, they have differences. These types of learning do refer to a person having an experience that others can learn from. In vicarious learning, you can get the education experience through other’s indirect experiences.

On the other hand, observational learning can be more clinical and objective. This type of learning involves learning through seeing a live situation or video recording. In addition, to this, it also uses other visuals, such as images. You might also be interested in Will eLearning replace Traditional learning?

Benefits of Vicarious Learning

Let us talk about some of the benefits of vicarious learning. Vicarious learning has a lot of benefits.

1. Easy to obtain an Experience

ExperienceWhen a person sees or listens to others’ activities, it then helps them to understand new experience patterns and behaviors.

It has been seen and observed that vicarious learning is comparatively a faster and easier way to obtain knowledge on any new experiences. In the case of Vicarious learning, it equips you with unique skills that have either positive or negative effects.

Just think of an employee. He sees his colleagues do a specific task. For the employee, in this case, it is much easier to learn by looking at his colleague rather than just doing it on his own.

2. It takes risks out of the Comparison

Such type of learning is riskless. The reason why vicarious learning is riskless because it actually is a way to you gain experience without actual participation. Just for the thought process, suppose that you watch a specific video that tells you how to avoid a dangerous situation. In such a case, you are learning and gaining experience without actually putting yourself at the risk. So vicarious learning is an opportunity that allows you to get insights into specific conditions without going through a costly trial and error process.

3. Improvement in Reflection and knowledge Preservation

Three Businesspeople Working In cafe

This type of learning also provides the possibility to see and imitate a process and absorb the knowledge at your own pace. If a person is able to understand all of the aspects of the task. It then gets saved as long-term memory. This memory can be applied or used when the need arises. You might also be interested in how to Develop a Successful eLearning Strategy.

4. You can learn from the Stories

We can find a lot of, in fact, millions of books, stories, and bibliographies about people’s lives in the universe. Anyone can use these documents and stories to learn from them.

What is Vicarious Conditioning?

We can say that Vicarious conditioning is an act of learning things, that usually occurs through observing the reactions, attitudes, and emotions of others instead of direct exposure.

Psychology saying, it can be described as learning through recognizing other people’s acknowledgments to an environmental stimulus that’s most obvious to the observer.

Moreover, in the case of Vicarious conditioning, it usually occurs when a conditional reflex is improved. As there’s an agreement between the input and therefore, the unconditioned response of reflexive answer. You can also check out best eLearning tools.

Let’s look at a few of the examples for Vicarious Learning.

Vicarious Learning Examples

1. The real-life Situations

Let us look at an example for a salesperson. He is comparatively new to the job, but he is capable enough to learn how to offer better services and make more sales. He can learn these skills by hearing the sales specialists make sales. The chamber works by observing how the co-worker behaves and acts when making sales.

It is also essential to select the most effective traits to mix with their strengths to their business’s success.

There are a lot of employees who often learn by acting how they see their senior associates around their work. They then follow them around the workplace to induce more experience and advice from them.

It only shows what proportion other people’s actions may influence people’s daily lives.

2. Learning by Reading a book and hearing a Story

People can learn from different books that provide different types of content. Like from a book related to business, you can learn about different business strategies that the author has applied. You can see what works in a business, and what fails. You might also be interested to know Best Paying Learning and Development Jobs at our platform.

So whatever type of book is read, the reader gets so deeply concentrates that they start to picture themselves in the character’s shoes.

So, whatever the role is in the book, we can actually use that character to learn the consequences of certain actions.

In such a type of vicarious learning, one can earn through the character’s action that all actions have outcomes.

Similarly, stories in a way have the capability to capture our attention and making us attentive. Imagine that a colleague tells you a story of how a particular person recently got fired because of specific misconduct. That story will work in a way to warn you to keep off the same activity.


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Final Thoughts

We can say that Vicarious learning, along with eLearning will be the future of education. But there are certain limits to the theory to vicarious learning. Whenever there is a student who is struggling with his imaginations, as well as people with low self-confidence, tend to not do that well with vicarious learning. At that moment, it is better not to use this method of learning because they simply cannot visualize themselves achieving that task.