On Observation as Learning

One of the most commonly used methods of learning in informal settings is observational learning. Learners watch those who are experienced do and listen to those describe what they want to learn, then they repeat and practice what they observed. Beyond trial-and-error, observational learning is a highly guided method of learning, and learners assume greater responsibility for their learning as they become more skilled. Observational learning requires learners to be able to pay attention to the relevant aspects of what is begin demonstrated and to ignore the irrelevant aspects. When observation is guided and the teacher and student engage in dialogue as the demonstration proceeds and as the learners attempts to replicate what was observed, it can be very effective (Rogoff, 1991).  


Rogoff, B. (1991). Apprenticeship in thinking: Cognitive development in social context. Oxford University Press.