"Active learning was first defined by Bonwell and Eison (1991) as “anything that involves students in doing things and thinking about the things they are doing” (emphasis added). Growing from developments in adult, cognitive, and educational research, active learning responds to traditional lecture formats with more engaged activities that invite students to participate in learning, including developing conceptual awareness, applying knowledge through experience, and transferring skills across contexts. Active learning helps students to ascend Bloom’s Taxonomy from remembering and understanding to analyzing and creating."
"Active learning refers to a broad range of teaching strategies which engage students as active participants in their learning during class time with their instructor. Typically, these strategies involve some amount of students working together during class, but may also involve individual work and/or reflection. These teaching approaches range from short, simple activities like journal writing, problem solving and paired discussions, to longer, involved activities or pedagogical frameworks like case studies, role plays, and structured team-based learning."
FROM Center for Educational Innovation University of Minnesota
Graph from University of Minnesota Center for Educational Innovation