Active learning is a student centered approach in which the responsibility for learning is placed upon the student, often working in collaboration with classmates. In active learning teachers are facilitators rather than one-way providers of information. The presentation of facts, so often introduced through lectures, is deemphasized in favor of class discussion, problem solving, cooperative learning, and writing exercises (graded and ungraded).
Active learning is the opposite of passive learning; it is learner-centered, not teacher-centered, and requires more than just listening; the active participation of each and every student is a necessary aspect in active learning. Students must be doing things and simultaneously think about the work done and the purpose behind it so that they can enhance their higher order thinking capabilities.
Most important of all, active learning transforms students from passive listeners to active participants and helps students understand the subject in depth through inquiry, gathering and analyzing data to solving higher order cognitive problems.