Neuroscience of Social Learning

The Neuroscience of Social Learning

The human brain has been evolving for millions of years, leading us to become the social beings are today. We create social connections wherever we go, which is why it is so important to also apply these to our learning. Our brains better process information and essential knowledge when it is exposed to a social aspect, rather than mundane individual learning.

What is social learning?

Social learning is the process of gaining new knowledge by observing, imitating and interacting with others. It is utilised by various learners and within different learning programs for an enhanced and memorable learning experience.

Social learning theory

Social learning theory is crafted to tailor learning to the individual needs and preferences of the modern learner. It is designed in a way that increases the motivation and desire for individuals to learn, contributing to personal and professional development. Social cognitive theory is used to determine the extent to which one learners socially, exemplified in various social learning theory examples.

The link between emotions and learning

The brain handles emotions via the prefrontal cortex, which is also responsible for our memories. It is fact that our working memory is impaired by situations that may trigger fear or anxiety in the brain. Building positive and caring relationships between teachers/managers and learners facilitates a positive learning environment in which learners are motivated and develop a desire to learn.

Adding an emotional dimension to the learning experience further immerses employees to completely support them whilst they learn new and relevant material for practical application.

What does social learning theory mean?

Learning socially offers a plethora of benefits to our life-long skillset, primarily increasing the neuroplasticity of our brains which is responsible for stimulating them. When we discuss our learnings or topics with others, we are able to consider the same material from various view points and perspectives. This helps us gain a more insightful, holistic and agile understanding of information essential for corporate success.

In light of this information, it is essential to populate your Learning Management System with social aspects and elements. This facilitation of a social network will enable an open learning environment, within which learners are motivated to share and understand as much new information as they can.

Elements of social theory

Social theory encapsulates many concepts, each focusing on how humans communicate and understand. According to Barnes (1995), common elements of social theory are;

  • Individualism.
  • Functionalism.
  • Interactionism.
  • Knowledge.
  • Status groups.
  • Social¬†movements.
  • Social classes.
  • Administrative hierarchies.

Social Learning Theory Examples

1. Observing social behaviour

2. Imitating social behaviour

3. Observation of reward

4. Observation of punishment

5. Expression of an attitude in response to observing a family member’s response

How does microlearning and spaced recall help?

Microlearning equips LMS’s with the right features to promote social learning within courses. This is achieved through the utilization of tools, such as gamification and spaced repetition (spaced recall), to intrinsically motivate learners to be their best learning selves. Gamification, for instance, is the integration of gaming elements in course content. This includes leader boards, point scores, star bars and real prizing, which instil a sense of motivation and desire for achievement in employees. This immediately boosts engagement and course completion rates.

Social learning is essential for the modern learner, providing them with motivation to learn, thus increasing engagement & understanding.

Social Learning LMS

EdApp harbours various social learning features, including gamification and peer learning. Gamification enables users to compete against each other for real prizes and the top spot on the leaderboard. Peer learning occurs through the course contribution feature, through which users can collaborate when progressing through tasks.

Learn how to configure social learning on EdApp here!

You may also be interested in learning about;

Cogntive Learning Theory
Learning Theories
Andragogy Learning Theory
Active Learning Theory