Observational learning is learning by watching others and imitating their actions. This method of learning is most common among young children as they observe and learn from authority figures around them.
This indirect form of learning takes place in babies as young as a month old and continues throughout the children's life. Children and adults are more likely to mimic actions of people they admire, respect, trust or see as nurturing.
Observational learning is important in children's socialization. Children learn how to interact with others by observing the actions of their peers. If an action is rewarded or receives no punishment, the child is more likely imitate that action. If an action receives negative response, the child is less likely to mimic that action later.
Adults implement observational learning in situations that are unfamiliar or when they lack confidence in their own skills or knowledge.