Enactive Learning

Every response a person makes is followed by some consequence. Some of these consequences are satisfying, some are dissatisfying, and others are simply not cog-nitively attended and hence have little effect. Bandura believes that complex human behavior can be learned when people think about and evaluate the consequences of then behaviors.

The consequences of a response serve at least three functions. First, response consequences inform us of the effects of our actions. We can retahi this information and use it as a guide for future actions. Second the consequences of our responses motivate our anticipatory behavior; that is, we are capable of symbolically representing future outcomes and acting accordingly. We not only possess insight but are also capable of foresight. We do not have to suffer the discomfort of cold tempera-tines before decidhig to wear a coat when going outside hi freezing weather. Instead we anticipate the effects of cold wet weather and dress accordingly. Third the consequences of responses serve to reinforce behavior, a function that lias been firmly documented by Skinner (Chapter 15) and other reinforcement theorists. Bandura (1986), however, contends that, although reinforcement may at times be unconscious and automatic, complex behavioral patterns are greatly facilitated by cognitive intervention. He maintained that learning occurs much more efficiently when the learner is cognitively involved in the learning situation and understands what behaviors precede successful responses.

In summary, Bandura believes that new behaviors are acquired through two major khids of learning: observational learning and enactive learning. The core element of observational learning is modeling, which is facilitated by observhig appropriate activities, properly coding these events for representation in memory, actually performing the behavior, and being sufficiently motivated. Enactive learning allows people to acquire new patterns of complex behavior through direct experience by thinking about and evaluating the consequences of their behaviors. The learning process allows people to have some degree of control over the events that shape the course of their lives. Control, however, rests with a three-way reciprocal interaction of person variables, behavior, and environment.

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