In psychology, the term “model learning” refers to a process in which people acquire behaviours, skills or information by observing and imitating a model. The concept of model learning was significantly developed by Albert Bandura and is closely related to his theory of social learning. In model learning, people observe the behaviour of others, whether in the real world or in the media, and then adopt that behaviour or the results of the behaviour. The model can be a real person, but it can also be a fictional character, a film character or a symbol. The observed behaviour can include actions, linguistic expressions, attitudes or beliefs. Model learning involves several steps. First, the attention phase takes place, in which the person consciously observes the model’s behaviour. This is followed by the memory phase, in which the behaviour is stored in memory. Then the reproduction phase takes place, in which the person tries to imitate the observed behaviour. Finally, there is the motivation and reinforcement phase, in which the consequences of the imitated behaviour influence future behaviour. Model learning plays an important role in various areas of psychology, especially development, social psychology and behaviour modification. It explains how children learn new skills and behaviours, how social norms and cultural practices are transmitted, and how changes in behaviour can be achieved through social modelling or therapeutic interventions.
In technology, model learning – also known as machine learning – is a subfield of artificial intelligence (AI) that deals with the development of algorithms and techniques that allow computers to learn from experience and perform tasks without being explicitly programmed. In model learning, a computer model is created that learns from data and can make predictions, recognise patterns or make decisions based on that experience. Instead of programming the computer with specific instructions, algorithms are used to identify patterns and relationships in the available data and draw conclusions from them. There are different types of model learning techniques, including supervised learning, unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning. In supervised learning, the model is provided with input data and the corresponding output values to train it to predict future outputs. In unsupervised learning, only input data is provided to the model and it must recognise patterns or structures in the data on its own. In reinforcement learning, the model learns by interacting with an environment and receives feedback in the form of rewards or punishments for its actions. Model learning is used in many application areas, including image and speech recognition, text analysis, recommendation systems, financial forecasting, medical diagnosis and autonomous driving. It has had a major impact on the development of AI systems and has helped computers to perform increasingly complex tasks by learning from large amounts of data.