Vicarious Learning & Parenting

The one thing I think of more often than anything else is parenting. Of course, parenting's more to do with doing than thinking, yet I must say thinking helps. And post my fair share of thinking, I've concluded, what makes the profoundest of impact on Jaden is MY behaviour. Because that's right in front of him, to see and feel. Plus what I behave out carries with it an association of legitimacy, for I am his father. In fact I now know nothing's going to have as much an effect on him than the way I conduct myself. At times its downright fascinating to see him play out a 'conduct' he's picked form me. For example, the way he puts away his cycle after a bout riding is exactly the way I back our car into our parking slot in the basement. Jaden mirrors almost every move and gesture of mine while 'parking' his cycle.

Now this puts so much of a responsibility on me. To exhibit decent, fair and civil behaviour. Because Jaden's watching and soaking it up like a sponge does to water. Of course, it would help if that's the way I really am as a person, because then playing out decent behaviour may not be such an effort.

Marketers I believe undervalue the impact of Vicarious Learning. Also known as Observational Learning its a type of learning that occurs as a function of observing, retaining and replicating novel behavior executed by others. For marketers, engineering visibility in the usage of their products by consumers is a surefire way of promoting vicarious learning among other consumers who may then be prompted to try the product/brand being used. The last we visited a food court I saw vicarious learning play out. What did more for orders of a sizzler from a food counter wasn't its mention on the menu. Instead it was one man's sizzler order that was delivered to him with the 'hissing', at his table. I couldn't see anyone else in that food court close to where we were not looking at the sizzler being served. Soon enough, I noticed orders being placed for the same by others.

Vicarious learning works because our eyes do the learning. Its something I need to be cognizant of as a parent. Its something marketers too can use with good effect.


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