“Active learning involves students in doing thing and thinking about the things they are doing” - Charles Bonwell - author of Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom (PDF, 80kB)
“Active methods require us to ‘make our own meaning’, that is, develop our own conceptualizations of what we are learning” - Geoff Petty - one of Britain's leading experts on teaching techniques and author
Rather than being a passive recipient of information, the active learner puts knowledge to use. Words capturing an active approach to learning include action verbs such as analyze, evaluate, generate, apply, connect, and extend. These actions engage students to think at a higher level, taking learning beyond memorization and recall towards active thinking, doing, and engagement.
Faculty - student interaction in an active learning classroom