What are the similarities and differences between classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning? What are the situations in which each of the types of learning may be useful?

Most of us are familiar with cognitive learning, the type involved in studying textbooks and in trying to understand the nature of the world. But we also learn in other ways. Conditioning is a specialized type of learning that deals with associations. In classical conditioning, we learn to associate one event with another. In operant conditioning, we learn to associate a behavior with its outcome or consequence. Observational learning functions in a way that is similar to operant conditioning, but it is accomplished by learning the consequences that follow the behavior of others. As you create your discussion post, consider the following:

What are the similarities and differences between classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning?
What are the situations in which each of the types of learning may be useful?
By the end of this discussion, you will be able to:

Explain the principles and processes involved in classical conditioning
Explain the principles and processes involved in operant conditioning
Compare and contrast the applications of and distinctions between classical and operant conditioning
Describe the nature of observational learning

Complete the following:

Choose one of the three methods of learning discussed in this module, classical conditioning, operant conditioning or observational learning. Try to choose one that has not been discussed by many others in the class. Describe this form of learning in detail. Provide a specific example of learning by yourself or someone you know that made use of this method. Be sure to relate the specific principles of the method of learning to the example.

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