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The berlo’s model follows the smcr model this model is not specific to any particular communication.

Berlo’s model lives a number of factors under each of the elements :

Source: The source is were the message originates.

Communication skills – It is the individual’s skill to communicate (ability to read, write, speak, listen etc…)

Attitudes – The attitude towards the audience, subject and towards one self for e.g. for the student the attitude is to learn more and for teachers wants to help teach.

Knowledge– The knowledge about the subject one is going to communicate for e.g. whatever the teacher communicates in the class about the subject so having knowledge in what you are communicating.

Note: It is not talking about the general knowledge it is all about the knowledge of the subject, so it is the familiarity of what you are communicating.

Social system – The Social system includes the various aspects in society like values, beliefs, culture, religion and general understanding of society. It is were the communication takes place.

For e.g. class room differs from country to country like behaviors, how we communicate etc.

Note: We can communicate only to the extent that the social system allows, when we communicate take social system into account.

Culture: Culture of the particular society also comes under social system.

All to this model, only if you have the above in the proper or adequate proportion v can communicate.

Encoder: The sender of the message (message originates) is referred as encoder, so the  source is encoding the message here.


Content – The beginning to the end of a message comprises its content for e.g.  From beginning to end whatever the class teacher speaks in the class is the content of the message.

Elements – It includes various things like language, gestures, body language etc, so these are all the elements of the particular message. Content is accompanied by some elements.

Treatment – It refers to the packing of the message. The way in which the message is conveyed or the way in which the message is passed on or deliver it.

Note: When it is too much treatment also the communication will not happen properly.

Structure– The structure of the message how it is arranged, the way you structure the message into various parts.

Note: Message is the same but if the structure is not properly arranged then the message will not get to the receiver.

Code– The code of the message means how it is sent in what form it could be e.g. language, body language, gestures, music and even culture is a code. Through this you get/give the message or through which the communication takes place or being reached.

Note:  Only when the code is proper, the message will be clear, improper use may lead to misinterpretation.

Channel–   It is nothing but the five senses through this only we do. The following are the five  senses which we use

  • Hearing
  • Seeing
  • Touching
  • Smelling
  • Tasting

Whatever communication we do it is there either of these channels.

Hearing: The use of ears to get the message for e.g. oral messages, interpersonal etc.

Seeing: Visual channels for e.g. TV can be seen and the message is delivered.

Touching: The sense of touch can be used as a channel to communicate for e.g. we touch and buy food, hugging etc.

Smelling: Smell also can be a channel to communicate for e.g. perfumes, food, charred smell communicates something is burning, we can find out about which food is being cooked etc.

Tasting : The tongue also can be used to decipher e.g. Food can be tasted and communication can happen.

Note: Despite not mentioning a medium we need to assume that as communication is taking place channels can be any of the 5 senses or combination.

Decoder : Who receives the message and decodes it is referred to as decoder.

Receiver: The receiver needs to have all the thinks like the source.

This model believes that for an effective communication to take place the source and the receiver needs to be in the same level, only if the source and receiver are on the same level communication will happen or take place properly. So source and receiver should be similar

For e.g. Communication skills on source side is good then the receiver should equally have good listening skills.

We cannot say the entire message passed doesn’t reaches the receiver has it is because the receiver may not good in listening, so only for the effective communication the source and the receiver to be in the same level.

Note: Self image differs from person to person, for communicating the person should consider the receiver. Keep the receiver in mind, speak accordingly and give them what they need.

Criticism of berlo’s smcr model of communication:

  1. No feedback / don’t know about the effect
  2. Does not mention barriers to communication
  3. No room for noise
  4. Complex model
  5. It is a linear model of communication
  6. Needs people to be on same level for communication to occur but not true in real life
  7. Main drawback of the model is that the model omits the usage of sixth sense as a channel which is actually a gift to the human beings (thinking, understanding, analyzing etc).
{ 165 comments… add one }
  • madhu March 4, 2012, 12:29 am

    i just wanna know what does berlo mean by context in his model?

  • sameen March 25, 2012, 2:32 pm

    helpful indeed!
    saved alot of time while preparing for semester exams!

    just one question if it gets answered, ” i can’t understand how we utilize Smell and Taste for communication?” are these senses for NON PERSONAL communication?

  • ANTHONY BROWN April 10, 2012, 3:50 am

    This model shows how having the skills to deliver your most inner thoughts through communication can be the difference between success and failure.

  • ANTHONY BROWN April 10, 2012, 4:00 am

    somewhat confusing but helpful!

  • Anthony Brown April 11, 2012, 4:39 am

    If you communicate with form of electronic device you must read this

  • Meshack mohammed April 15, 2012, 4:22 am

    Thank you very much for this post, you have just helped me passed my assignment about D.K BERLO four elements of communication.. Plz keep the good work

  • Jona Shilunga April 16, 2012, 11:24 pm

    Thank you !!!

  • muharmmerd harbeebarh April 18, 2012, 1:34 am

    keep the flag on. u re d best

  • tsepang May 14, 2012, 5:05 pm

    thanks. will come back to study more

  • Nomaxala Carol May 14, 2012, 5:05 pm

    Wow.thank you for this information it has been a great help to me as a Student Teacher…

  • carol chelah June 11, 2012, 12:38 pm

    Thanks alot i know understand berlos model of communication clearly.

  • Richard Gitahi June 15, 2012, 3:54 pm

    Nice but which are the main sources?

  • Nash June 29, 2012, 1:59 pm

    now i fully understand the SMCR, thanks!, Godbless u.

  • ROHAN ASKER July 2, 2012, 11:41 pm

    i very much like this ……….carry on

  • betty scurry July 6, 2012, 7:37 pm

    Thanks for this information it helps a lot in my assignment task for this course

  • Prasoon Tiwari August 6, 2012, 10:48 am

    I want to about Wilbur Schramm’s Participatory Model and Model of Franke Doms. Could anybody explain these two models…!

  • makudo elphas August 30, 2012, 9:45 pm

    this have helped me a lot considering the fact that our doesn’t have textbook containing these models ……..thanks a lot may our GOD bless you.

  • jacus October 8, 2012, 2:36 pm

    thxz so more

  • Danhell October 12, 2012, 7:13 pm

    Its actually substancious and reliable in terms of coverage and content. Appreciably org.

  • ANTHONY KIPARA November 17, 2012, 2:28 pm

    Its good keep it up

  • Sir John Mp November 23, 2012, 11:45 pm

    I understood well about what channels should be there to provide a site for communication to take place!,give us more…!

  • Leonard H Jackson November 26, 2012, 12:32 am

    Best site in Business Communications provides exactly the right channels in places needed.

  • Leonard H Jackson November 26, 2012, 12:40 am

    Provides the best communication channels in places needed, right on time , every time. I’m so glad I met you.

  • Abbygail November 26, 2012, 9:26 am

    Exactly why did berli made this SMCR model?

  • LINGUNJE RAJAB December 3, 2012, 1:37 pm

    I accept it, still i have a question; How can one use this model in improvisation of teaching and learning materials in the context of poor East African countries

  • Messanga Albinus December 4, 2012, 8:40 am

    ” communication ,source ,message ,channels,and receiver “

  • victor December 4, 2012, 7:18 pm

    it assume tcha and learner are equal

  • zuberi December 14, 2012, 1:34 pm

    if so how teacher will teach students a new language? apart from that how can you change the negative behavior of the second part if attitude are thing to be considered to be the same? Lastly why even though you may teach people having the same communication skills but still fail?why? the barrier of communication must be there such as field experience and physical noise.

  • florence focus December 16, 2012, 2:31 pm

    too complex model

  • maige muhada December 18, 2012, 1:48 am

    nice work

  • TAULINE January 26, 2013, 8:13 pm

    thanks good lesson

  • Patricia February 15, 2013, 4:03 pm

    Thank you very useful information.

  • Jonnie February 19, 2013, 4:14 am


  • NADUN ALWIS April 2, 2013, 2:17 am

    Some one says the SMCR model is a “non linear”.They makes arguments depending on same features mentioned in S & R. I think its false idea. in berlo’s “model” there is no feed back .(.ONLEY HE MENTIONED ABOUT FEED BACK IN HIS EXPLANATIONS). I think That he wanted to explain the how work communication process in a single situation. i think thats why he did not mentioned about Feed Back in his model, and why it was linear.

  • MONICAH .N. MUTUNGA June 4, 2013, 8:24 pm

    Wow this is cool! at least i have something to write about berlo’s model in my final paper what a help!

  • Daniels June 11, 2013, 2:31 am

    i found this post interesting pls keep it up but i will like you to justify why Berlo’s smcr is more accepted than other models. But a big tnk U for a work well done

  • 0724614552 June 17, 2013, 11:53 pm

    da note are interesting but separate merit and demerit as uv done to lasswell model.

  • maina muturi June 28, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Thats a really nice one!!!

  • william July 23, 2013, 12:43 am

    Yes,something i neaded!what are the strengths of this model?

  • makokha Stephen July 31, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Thanks a lot these explanations have really helped me to understand the models even better. God bless you.

  • munaza September 24, 2013, 10:02 pm

    i could not understand it

  • martin October 9, 2013, 1:18 am

    I understand well i need more of this

  • VICENT OKUMU October 9, 2013, 8:50 pm

    Thanks for the explanations.can’t wait to do ma courswork

  • dumisani machinjirise November 7, 2013, 8:29 pm

    thus gud though having complications

  • Cathy November 13, 2013, 3:29 pm

    This post is great! Who wrote this so I can reference it to my assignment?

  • benie November 15, 2013, 3:30 pm

    Thanx for explanation bt try to elabolate briefly on each of the criticism

  • ashu karen November 19, 2013, 9:38 pm

    pls would one clearly bring out the similarities and differences between harold lasswelland d.k.berlo?dey both ve weaken

  • WYCLIFFE November 20, 2013, 10:05 pm

    its a good explanation

  • Tumaini Kimaryo November 21, 2013, 11:18 pm

    thank all for the good elaboration is chows this people are good in communication. keep it up

  • Hussein Hashimu November 28, 2013, 9:39 am

    the model is so good and applicablicable in real life situation. Presence of weaknesses make us think more about it so as to com with more than that. On top of that, the mode is applicable to all communication and even commucation (teaching) in the classroom situation.

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