Albert Bandura: Observational learning in coaching
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Albert Bandura was born on 4 December 1925 in Mundare, Alberta, Canada. His primary and secondary education took place at the one and only school in Mundare, and as a result of this meagre academic environment he soon discovered that learning is largely a social and self-directed endeavour. Following secondary school, he attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he initially studied psychology as a ‘ﬁller course’, but later became enamoured with the subject. Bandura received his B.A. in psychology in 1949, excelling in the subject and winning the Bolocan Award in the process. Following his undergraduate degree, he moved to the United States for his graduate studies at the University of Iowa, where, he received his M.A. in 1951 and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1952. Following a postdoctoral internship at the Wichita Guidance Center, he began his teaching career in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University in 1953 (Bandura 2014), where he remains to this day in his current position as the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology. Bandura is one of the most well-known and widely cited scholars in both psychology and education (Gordon et al. 1984). He was elected president of the American Psychological Society (APA) in 1974, and in 1998, was honoured with the E. L. Thorndike Award of the APA for his research inﬂuence on educational psychology, research that has contributed signiﬁcantly to knowledge, theory and practice in the ﬁeld. In 2006, he was honoured by the APA with a Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Psychological Science. Bandura is widely published and highly recognized for his work in social learning theory, social cognitive theory and self-eﬃcacy. Although it is diﬃcult to pinpoint a single accomplishment that stands above all others, his 1961 Bobo doll experiment certainly ranks near the top of the list. At that time behaviourist theories of learning were prominent, resulting in the belief that learning was a result of reinforcement. In the Bobo doll experiment Bandura presented children with social models of violent behaviour or non-violent behaviour towards an inﬂatable Bobo doll. The children who viewed the violent behaviour were in turn violent towards the doll; the control group was rarely violent towards the doll. This experiment demonstrated that observation and social modelling is a very eﬀective way of learning, and moved psychological thinking away from previously limited conceptions in which learning required overt actions.
Thomas, G., Morgan, K. and Harris, K. (2016) 'Albert Bandura: Observational learning in coaching'. In: L. Nelson, R. Groom and P. Potrac. Learning in Sports Coaching: Theory and Application. London: Routledge, pp. 38-50.
Chapter 3 in Learning in Sports Coaching: Theory and Application (2016).
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