Difference Between Active Learning and Passive Learning

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 28, 2022


Difference Between Active Learning and Passive Learning Difference Between Active Learning and Passive Learning

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Learning is an essential component of our lives since it underpins the majority of our job and education. Furthermore, many people are unaware of the many types of learning available. Passive and active educations are two types of learning that individuals use on a regular basis, either consciously or unconsciously. It's not sure that a technique that works for an individual will work for everyone else. Learning is a personal endeavour, and the amount of engagement and strategies utilised may have a significant impact on the potential advantages of learning anything. There are certain common variables involved regardless of the subject topic you are attempting to study, whether theoretical or practical. Passive and active learning might sound like difficult terms hard to comprehend but, they are not very complicated. The following article will give a clear understanding of what is the difference between Active and Passive Learning.

Active Learning vs. Passive learning 

Any learning method can be advantageous as long as the learners can retain important information from the taught contexts, however knowing the difference between two important methods of learning and how these terms benefit people is also essential. Active learning is primarily concerned with learning, whereas passive learning is focused on the instructor who is instructing. In opportunity to involve in active learning, students must think, discuss, challenge, and analyse content. Traditionally, active learning is thought to engage higher-order thinking, whereas passive learning only aids with retention. The prime distinction between the two is how data is delivered to the student from the resource the resource being the instructor, written materials, and/or other resources that have integrated technology advances. More distinctions include techniques, how learning is accomplished, and the benefits and drawbacks of each method. To learn effectively, learners must receive, integrate, consider, and translate information. Passive learning entails active listening and attention to detail, whereas active learning encourages conversation and debate. The following table will provide a clear distinction between the two leaning methods.

Difference Between Active Learning and Passive Learning in Tabular Form

Table: Active Learning vs. Passive learning 
Extremely Involved
Very less involved
Active Learning is a type of learning in which students actively participate in the activities and conversations.
Passive learning occurs when students absorb knowledge without making any deliberate attempts.
It’s used to improve learning.
This method used when new material is presented.
Teacher aligned
Retaining knowledge
Very high
Comparatively low
Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)
Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS)
The student assumes responsibility for his or her own learning.
The instructor is accountable for the student's learning.
Role of teacher
Divergent thinking
Convergent thinking
Books or internet materials, instructor
Hands-on experience, practical application, simulations, and so forth.

To understand these methods more clearly, the following example table is provided:-

Participating in a Group Discussion
Hearing a lecture in class
Performing a Presentation in Front of an Audience
textbook reading
Taking part in Role Playing
Viewing images, charts, tables, and graphs
Extensive consideration of a case study
Conducting research, developing, and finishing the allocated project
Observing live demos

What is Active Learning?

Active learning is sometimes characterised as a kind of learning in which academics actively participate in the learning process by increasing knowledge and comprehension. It necessitates complete engagement on the side of the student and is not supported by classroom instruction, but rather by interactive educational sessions. The teacher is at the front of the classroom talking in an 'old-fashioned, teacher-centered' classroom, and the kids are listening. However, if the scholars are actively studying, the teacher will take a break and allow the scholars to dispute what one is attempting to deliver. Because the eye span in active studying is greater, the scholar may not feel bored as easily because the mind is entirely focused. As a result, any strategy that encourages students to complete activities on their own and believe in what they're doing is characterized as active learning.

Students typically only listen in active learning teaching styles. A dialogue, either between the teacher and the students or mediated among the students, can also be utilized as a method, while other methods, ranging from laboratory experiments to role-playing and discussions, are more hands-on. Divergent thinking is promoted through active learning, in which students explore varied and artistic ideas and solutions to a task. Learning is considered as a conflict of ideas, with the effect of bringing those ideas together and synthesizing them yielding new knowledge. Active learning allows for regular pointers between the teacher and the student.

This feedback loop informs both the teacher and the student on the amount of learning that has occurred. It also increases student involvement and attention while inspiring discussion and developing critical thinking abilities. When children are not adequately supervised, there is also the chance of distractions. Teachers, on the other hand, find class organisation difficult since supporting active learning involves flexibility and spontaneity. Due to time restrictions, the quantity of data and proficiency that can be covered and provided is limited. Active reading is more than just listening to a talk; students should read, write, practice, discuss and participate in problem solving, discussions, etc.

Active Learning involves learning by way of:

  1. Question-answer

  2. Excursion

  3. Brainstorming

  4. Debates

  5. Strip story

  6. Dramatization

  7. Assignments

  8. Independent study

  9. Problem-solving

Students will be able to question preconceived conceptions and prejudices as they engage in conversations and defend their opinions through active learning. Students must be skilled in observation, communication, and critical thinking. Students that engross in passive learning have the chance to imitate on their opinions. Students have the chance to defend their response, debate their classmates, and explain their thoughts during this process.

Benefits of Active Learning

Active Learning permits for consistent opinion, encourages attention, makes learners engross in discussions, and improves perilous thinking. Negative reading countenances more info to be presented, gives the instructor more control, and allows for a more proper presentation of the topic.

Drawbacks of Active Learning

Active Learning doesn’t allow for a well-planned lesson, students may be diverted and the amount of information shared is small. Unthinking reading can be monotonous, students stop correlating, the information increased may be superficial, and there may be diminutive response.

What is a Passive Learning?

Passive Learning refers to the conventional type of learning in which teachers are seen as experts and are supposed to convey knowledge to students. In layman’s terms it’s the typical student teacher classroom studies that are seen in many schools. When all of the learning is created by the instructor and absorbed by the student, this is referred to as passive learning. This is typically interpreted as a lecture. As a result, the pupils have a laid-back attitude since they learn from what their lecturer teaches them. Moreover, the student receives no additional feedback from the instructor or the teacher. Convergent thinking, or the belief that there is only one correct solution, is used in passive learning. Learning is viewed solely as the transmission of ideas from instructor to pupil. Passive learning strategies include lecture and direct instruction, story-telling, and analogy.

Passive learning enables more students to plan, reproduce, and reuse lecture notes. Lectures, on the other side are widely known for being dull. Students have a proclivity towards becoming disinterested and uninterested. Passive learning is also frequently associated with a shallow knowledge of the content. Passive learning allows for the speedy presentation of a wide variety of items and skills. It also allows the instructor more control over the training environment and makes content presentation more structured and intelligible. There is little feedback and limited chances to assess the quantity of learning. Students are also more prone to keep their inquiries and misunderstandings to themselves.

Passive learning causes scholars to get quickly bored or exhausted, owing to the brain's low engagement during training sessions, which inhibits the scholars' thinking abilities. Besides, it only gives a few opportunities to assess the student's grasp and understanding. Passive learning causes pupils to get quickly bored or exhausted owing to the low participation of the brain during learning sessions, which inhibits students' thinking abilities. It only suggests insufficient prospects to evaluate the student's grasp and understanding.

Methods of Passive Learning

  1. Lectures

  2. Tutorials

  3. Seminars

  4. PPTS

  5. illustrative case studies

  6. 6- Textbook research

Passive learning is also a part of our daily life. It comes from the books we read, the TV shows we watch, and, yes, the social media we consume on a daily basis. Learners in a passive situation are rarely encouraged to debate concepts, which may not necessarily be essential while acquiring abilities in particular mathematical or scientific areas when the facts are certain. However, in any learning setting, a competent instructor will always encourage a strong learner to ask questions when they are uncertain of any question and will ensure that all information is clarified. Passive learning enables for more information to be provided, greater control for the instructor, and a more orderly presentation of the material.

Main Differences between Active Learning and Passive Learning in Points

  1. Active learning comprises unswervingly and vigorously including learners in the learning process. Passive Learning, on the other hand, is the type of learning in which pupils are provided all of the information by the teacher or instructor and are expected to integrate it.

  2. Active learning techniques are those in which academics learn an idea by doing it, which requires them to actively participate in the process. In contrast, conventional techniques of learning are applied in the case of passive learning, with the learner's engagement being relatively low.

  3. Active learning is student-centred, with the primary attention shifting from the instructor to the student, as well as from the teacher's provision of information to active engagement by the scholar whereas, passive learning is teacher-centred,

  4. Passive learning, is used when new content is offered to researchers. But active learning on the other hand, is used to improve student learning by allowing pupils to be instructed or educated by generating their own meanings while completing the task.

  5. In active learning, the most source of information is hands-on Observation, utilization, Experiments, etc., whereas in passive learning the most source of information is the Teacher/Mentor, Books or Online Resources.

  6. Passive learning, on the other hand, frequently promotes Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS) in pupils, which may include defining, describing, and writing abilities. Active Learning promotes the development of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS), such as analysis, synthesis, assessment, public speaking, and teamwork.

  7. The student assumes active learning accountability for learning. However, with passive learning, the teacher assumes responsibility for the students' learning.

  8. In active learning, the teacher acts as a facilitator, creating a favourable atmosphere for the student to obtain information while, in passive learning, instructors are seen as the major source of knowledge, therefore they function as an instructor.

  9. Active learning promotes divergent thinking in students those results in the generation of creative or unique ideas. In contrast, passive learning promotes convergent thinking, i.e. the students will be able to provide the correct answer to a basic question.


In conclusion, Active learning and passive learning are the two methods of obtaining knowledge and abilities during the learning process. While the efficacy of active learning has been extensively proved and tested, the same institutions can't seem to forsake methods that are widely referred to as passive learning, leading in some controversy about which method is superior. Some say that the two tactics complement one another and that the debate is more about when, where, and how to use each. If you're wondering which strategy is best, using both is a better option than sticking to just one. There may be times when individuals need to be supplied with information, and other times when they need to be more thorough and theoretically grounded. Doing what is best for oneself is always the best option; given both options require data retention in some form or another. The biggest difference is what works best for you, since there are hundreds of textbook definitions of the greatest and worst, but you know yourself the best, so do what works best for you.



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"Difference Between Active Learning and Passive Learning." Diffzy.com, 2023. Sun. 29 Jan. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-active-learning-and-passive-learning-12>.

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