The phrase "active learning" may mean different things to different instructors. For some, it signifies a move away from pure lecturing, and any interactions with the audience constitutes active learning. Those interested in such an approach will find our list of interactive techniques of great interest.
Others associate the term with discrete methodologies that are more than interactions during lecture. Most of these methodologies suggest that lectures be avoided in favor of a different approach. The inquiry method and problem-based learning propose to provide students with puzzles and problems that must be solved. In the course of learning how to solve those problems, they necessarily look up, digest, and apply the learning that in other classes would have been presented as lectures. Case-based learning is similar, with a focus on attacking problems that are smaller scenarios with discrete answers
Active learning also extends to other approaches which move beyond lecturing, such as team-based learning, and experiential learning that aims to provide a real-world experience and application through the use of internships or service learning.