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Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory for Students Case Study


Assisting students in selecting their path for academic progress and career development is a challenging task. In the case under analysis, the student has impressive potential, yet she is restricted by an array of socioeconomic and academic factors. Therefore, Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory will have to be deployed to help Taneka to evaluate the key factors closely and improve her academic score.

The theory will be used to ensure that the student is fully aware of the challenges and opportunities that she is likely to have when applying for college. Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory provides an excellent choice of tools for assessing the social environment of a learner and determining the factors that may become a hindrance in her further academic progress. Among the key areas for concern, the absence of priorities, the lack of support, and the necessity to work harder on her academic score will need to be mentioned. Even though Taneka is very motivated, her willingness to explore her academic opportunities may wither once she realizes how big an effort that she will have to make to enter a college.

Therefore, a combination of family support and positive reinforcement will have to be offered to the student by the chosen theoretical framework. Furthermore, Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory will help Taneka develop a better understanding of her strengths and weaknesses. As a result, she may eventually be able to attain her academic goals.


Career and education choices are never easy because of financial challenges associated with education, as well as the lack of understanding of the effort that one will have to put into the academic process. In Taneka’s case, the absence of directions and support serves as the primary obstacle toward the assessment of her skills and abilities that she will need to enroll in a college. Therefore, the choice of a counseling theory hinges on the identification of the factors that prevent Taneka from developing the necessary skills within a comparatively short amount of time. Because of the vast influence that factors such as Taneka’s family background, ethnicity, social status, education, and financial assets have on the student’s ability to enroll in a college, using Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory to determine further prospects for Taneka will be reasonable.

The purpose of the paper is to prove that the chosen theoretical framework will be the most suitable for managing Taneka’s needs. The strengths and weaknesses of the suggested approach will be identified after a scrutiny of the key tenets of Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory will be located. The resulting in-depth overview of the situation will allow taking every factor that influences Tanka’s current situation into account. As a result, a general strategy of counseling the student to help her manage the current issue and help her delineate her further strategy for pursuing her academic goals will be designed. Finally, a set of steps for helping Taneka to set her priorities in line and be able to enroll in college will need to be outlined. As a result, Taneka will decide whether she has the strength and resources to pursue her academic goals, and, if she does, how she is going to do it.

Theory Identification and Application

Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory has been chosen as the framework for providing Taneka with counseling services. According to the existing definition, the theory suggests that a combination of the specifics of one’s genetic makeup and social environment define the chances for attaining one’s goals, particularly, the ones that are related to academic and career opportunities (Sampson, Bullock-Yowell, Dozier, Osborn, & Lenz 2017). The theory comprises the concept of genetic endowment, environmental controls, and task learning skills (Yales, 2017). Although the theory implies that one’s opportunities may be limited to one’s intrinsic abilities, it will also help Taneka to focus on the areas of studying that she finds engaging and in which she performs best, thus, determining the possibility of her career choices.

The key rationale for using Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory is that the suggested framework helps identify the student’s strengths and, thus, determine the opportunities that she will have when applying for college (Walsh & Osipow, 2014). While Taneka’s willingness to study and build professional skills is worth admiration and must be encouraged, it is also important not to make her overestimate her strengths. In the latter scenario, if failing to enter a college, she may be disheartened to the point where she will cease her endeavors at continuing studying and building professional expertise (Jaeger, Hudson, Pasque, & Ampaw, 2017). Therefore, it is important to make sure that the student is fully aware of her strengths and especially weaknesses. Moreover, the suggested theoretical framework will allow determining the problems in Taneka’s current setting, such as family issues, and delineate a strategy for managing them. As a result, the learner will be able to continue her education.

The theory will be applied by encouraging Taneka to determine her goals and focus on the areas that she wishes to explore. Afterward, the discussion will be steered toward the areas in which Taneka succeeds best. The identified conversation will be focused on, although not limited to, the overview of the subjects at which Taneka is best, as well as the knowledge and skills that she will need to be admitted to a college. Besides, the student will have to learn about academic and personal qualities that she will require to manage the environment of a college. The expectations set by the college system will be compared to the current set of skills that the student has. Keeping the environmental factors affecting Taneka’s academic performance in mind, one will have to encourage the student to decide whether she will be able to handle the challenge. The triadic framework of the discussion, i.e., Taneka’s current academic experiences, her current environment, and her actual behavior, aligns with the concepts of modeled, innate, and learning behaviors represented in Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory (Yates, 2017). Thus, the student will be able to make the right decision.

Challenges & Solutions with Theory Application

The application of Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory is fraught with several key challenges, the necessity to keep the student motivated being the key one. Because of the harsh and realistic assessment of key environmental factors and their effects on the student’s learning opportunities, it is very easy to leave Taneka disappointed. Moreover, with a detailed list of hindrances to her academic progress, including environmental predispositions, she may be dissuaded from learning, in general (Busacca & Rehfuss, 2016). The identified outcome must be avoided at all costs since it will jeopardize her future, particularly, her career opportunities. Thus, it will be necessary to balance positive reinforcement by setting reasonable expectations regarding academic and career-related opportunities.

The necessity to alter some of the elements of Taneka’s current environment is another difficult task that needs to be accomplished. Particularly, the support of family members and peers needs to be introduced to the student’s life. Even though Taneka currently seems motivated enough, with a discouraging attitude from her peers and the lack of belief from her family members, she may feel unwilling to respond to any further challenges. Therefore, it will be needed to help Taneka establish a bond between her and her family. The change can be implemented with the adoption of Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory and altering the current setting to ensure that Taneka’s family members recognize her goals and aspirations as important. As a result, she will gain the support necessary to attain the set goal. Furthermore, the home setting may become more welcoming for Taneka, thus, encouraging her to study more actively at home and expand her range of academic skills and personal qualities.


Since Taneka’s current chances to pursue higher education and apply for college are restricted significantly by a range of financial and sociocultural factors, it will be necessary to deploy Krumboltz’s Social Learning Theory to help the student set her priorities in order. While the theory may make the student feel the weight of the factors that reduce her chances to enter a college, it will help Taneka to take a sober view of the current situation. As a result, she will not overestimate herself, and the possibility of her suffering a failure will be reduced. Moreover, the suggested approach toward counseling will point to the areas on which Taneka will have to work to increase her chances for higher education and better career opportunities.


Busacca, L. A., & Rehfuss, M. C. (2016). Postmodern career counseling: A handbook of culture, context, and cases. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Jaeger, A. J., Hudson, T. D., Pasque, P. A., & Ampaw, F. D. (2017). Understanding how lifelong learning shapes the career trajectories of women with STEM doctorates: The life experiences and role negotiations (LEARN) model. The Review of Higher Education, 40(4), 477-507. Web.

Sampson, J. P., Bullock-Yowell, E., Dozier, V., Osborn, D. S., & Lenz, J. G. (2017). Integrating theory, research, and practice in vocational psychology: Current status and future directions. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Libraries.

Walsh, W. B., & Osipow, S. H. (2014). Career counseling: Contemporary topics in vocational psychology. New York, NY: Routledge.

Yates, J. (2017). A meta-theoretical framework for career practitioners. The Indian Journal of Career and Livelihood Planning, 5(1), 15-25.

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