Education, Learning & the Self

In this article, we examine the role of Education in learning as well as in conditioning of the mind. I outline two of the key concepts that form the foundation of the modern education system, and then present some questions for Self Discovery related to education, from my book titled “The Stellar Self”.

An individual’s education forms a significant part of his or her childhood & adolescence experience. It is Social experience, with the purpose of conscious learning. And therefore, it plays a crucial role in the development of the Self. The educational system provides young individuals with a social context to shape their identity, as well as training to shape their behaviour.

The purpose of Education in any society is to promote learning. But if the Education system becomes subservient to Economics, learning is compromised. The primary goal of learning is to enable an individual to develop options for creating personal, monetary & social equity. Most education rather conditions the learners mind to become subservient towards Monetary Equity. For more ideas on this, see topics related to Equity, Society & The Self.

Social Learning Theory

Albert Bandura, a renowned Canadian Psychologist, proposed the social learning theory, which states that learning is a cognitive process, rather than a purely behavioural one. Furthermore, learning can be acquired through observation & vicarious reinforcement in a social context, rather than just through direct operant conditioning.

It doesn’t matter if you do not understand the technical terms mentioned here. Social Learning Theory simply implies that we learn simply by being in the company of others learning through experience. This is crucial – to acknowledge the important role of the university system (or traditional schools where people with common interest come together in real life), especially in the age of video classes & universally accessible content. The Social Learning Theory emphasizes the importance of the social element in the learning process.

Self Efficacy

Bandura also developed the concept of Self Efficacy. It denotes the belief in one’s self about our capability to execute courses of action required to deal with prospective new situations. It is important to note – that it does not signify one’s ability, but rather the belief in one’s ability in handling unexpected situations.

Self-efficacy affects every aspect of an individual’s well being. The strength of belief in one’s own abilities strongly influences the effort one puts into and the choices one makes related to the challenges of life. Self Efficacy is something that is fundamentally developed through personal experience, & not as effectively through vicarious reinforcement – i.e. by watching videos or reading text. And this emphasizes the importance of experience.


The following five questions from my book – 99 Questions for Self Discovery– delve deeper into how your education had the most impact on your sense of Self.

  1. What is your Level of Education? (High school, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate)?
    • How do you feel about your level of education? 
  2. Do you have any regrets related to your early education?
    • Hypothetically speaking, would you like to change any of that – i.e. your learning experience – up until & including high school? Why?
  3. Do you believe that your education makes you better than someone who does not have the same level of education? 
    • Do you believe your lack of education makes you worse off than someone who has a higher level?
    • If yes, how does your education make you better than them? If not, why not?
  4. Do you believe in continuous learning?
    • How do you plan to continue your learning experience?
    • Are you planning on going back to school?
    • Are you engaged in a structured continuous learning exercise now?
  5. Is there a Skill or academic subject that you have mastered on your own?
    • How did you go about doing that?

Find out more about the book here.