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How does social cognitivism build on the values of cognitivist views?

According to Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner (2007), learners build knowledge and assimilate it
based upon their past experiences. Cognitivism is the theory that relates to how this knowledge is
acquired and how it is processed. Social cognitivism builds upon this by adding another environmental
layer. Learners observe and interact with others and ultimately learn throughout the process. The new
knowledge is assimilated in the same manner as cognitivism.

Assuming you must design training for managers to become more authentic with their employees, what
are some examples of learning designs that are based purely on cognitivist orientation?

Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner (2007) assert that, learning from a cognitivist perspective occurs
internally. Thought, reflection, and then processing of the information based upon the learners past
experiences. A training session for managers could include them reflecting on their past experiences
with employees and the outcome of each interaction. Managers could then read case studies and think
about the best possible response to each scenario.

Assuming the same scenario, what are some examples of learning designs that are based purely on
social cognitivist orientation?

Training from a social cognitivist perspective could include role playing where managers can observe
others interacting with employees and then discussing and reflecting on the outcomes of each scenario.
Another opportunity for learning would be to work as a team to brainstorm and come up with
appropriate manager/employee engagement.

Would you use a combination of methods from these learning orientations? Why?

I would prefer to use a combination of both methods because there are benefits from both. Thinking
about our past experiences is important, but it is also very helpful to see how others respond to the
same situation. I personally like to observe others doing what I am supposed to be learning. I can read
and think through things just fine, however, my learning is strengthened when I can see it in action. It
also helps us to remember what we learned when it is audible, visual and emotional. Learning from
others is extremely valuable because we each have different past experiences that shape our
knowledge. Learning about the experiences of others helps us to visualize how we would respond in a
similar situation.


Merriam, S., Caffarella, R., and Baumgartner, L. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide.
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.