Active Learning

Much formal language instruction is passive.  Students basically watch the teacher's show with perhaps some repetition.  There is no respect for student's time and knowledge since the focus is on the teacher's performance; parts of the teacher's show are unnecessary for some and insufficient for others.  Individual participation means almost nothing and progress is not visible.

Interactive instruction includes some learner effort.   After a show by the teacher students apply what they have learned in a narrow way e.g. filling in a blank or choosing a letter.  Individual participation is somewhat more meaningful and progress can be made visible.  There is little respect for the student's time and knowledge.

Active learning is focused on individual effort and progress.  Students become learners as they do not just watch the teacher's show but participate fully.  It is respectful of the learner's time and knowledge because the learner only references material as needed, learning when and where appropriate for them.  The teacher acts more like a coach than a showman and provides feedback which the learner can leverage to improve and learn. Individual effort and progress are plainly visible.

A way of understanding the difference: Passive learning is like watching a movie; perhaps entertaining but little learning.  Interactive learning is like pausing the movie and answering questions.  Active learning is like playing a role-playing game with expert feedback on how to improve; your actions and improvements are recorded so you can show others.

MyAlly's active learning model is heavily influenced by "Constructionism" Papert and "Writing to Learn" Britton et. al.