Learning is a process of acquiring knowledge or skills, through any means. The learning process done through observation or watching is called Observational Learning. It includes identifying, relating, and interpreting the situations. Observational Learning theory is well studied as a part of various psychological assessments and to understand its influence on human behavior. It is one of the fundamental learning processes. It forms the basis for your learning starts even before your birth.
And right after your birth, you start observing everyone and everything around you and acquire knowledge - be it about humans, objects, sounds. In fact your family and friends, your environment, the hobbies you have, the movies you watch and, the news you read, everything forms a part of Observational learning.
Some typical examples of observational learning include
A) A kid learning languages by observing his parents speak.
B) A person imitating his favorite actor’s dance moves
C) A new employee learning a task by observing his senior
Observational learning matters a lot in your corporate life too. While your boss and colleagues feed on a lot of information during the initial stages, the information you acquire through meetings and discussions define your thought process. As you gain experience, your talent along with this knowledge defines your career success. Moreover, the learnings acquired through observation is of immense help, especially when you are yourself in the implementing stage.
Even though training and instructions are important in learning, observational learning has a profound effect on us. While you observe many things and consciously interpret your observations, plenty of instances are observed and recorded in your mind, subconsciously, thereby drawing inferences and conclusions. While your traits and inherent behavior define your personality, the knowledge acquired through observational learning plays a major role in your future decisions.
In the initial stages of your career, you are assigned specific tasks. It may not be possible for you to work on end-to-end of a project limiting your scope to learn new things. But now that you know about such a learning process, you can follow the given tips to enhance your observational learning:
A) A typical project meeting encompasses discussion on all aspects of projects. Focus more on your tasks, observe what is being discussed in other tasks. While intrusion in every task is considered wrong, observing and understanding the concepts would be helpful in the future.
B) Observe the roles and responsibilities of your seniors. You don’t have to wait to be designated for the next position to start the learning required for those roles. Instead, look at your seniors and understand the attributes demanded by such roles and start working on those, when you find the time.
C) Look at the projects conducted by other teams, and understand what are their strategies, unless confidential. While you can implement successful strategies, you can avoid the mistakes done by us. The latter itself improve your success rates multi-fold.
Overall, make sure you are observing the right pieces of information, comprehending well, and use it for your career success.
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