被动学习或传统的以教学为基础的学习可以被称为一种教育方式，学习者能够安静地从教育者那里接收到新的信息，课堂上没有中断。一些学生有机会偶尔问问题(Foot和Howe, 1998)。自从Eison和Bonwell(1991)首次讨论主动学习的概念以来，就有人声称，为了确保学生学习的成功，关键的重点不仅要放在倾听上，而且要让学生积极参与。他们必须注重通过活动来构建知识。根据Bloom等人(1956)的学习分类，他们对高阶思维技能的主动学习进行了研究。在具体意义上，Bonwell and Eison(1991)曾提出，学生应该从事诸如评价、综合和分析等高阶思维的任务。因此，传统的“坐下来就能得到”的学习方法不再被建议，因为主动学习已经开始受到重视，因为许多年来(Code & Zaparyniuk, 2009)。
在传统教学中，教师对这一问题的看法或呈现出一种激进的倾向。积极的学习吸引了全体教职员工的强烈支持，他们发现了许多传统教学方法的替代品。对于一些教师来说，对于什么可以被认为是主动学习以及它与传统教育有何不同存在着潜在的疑问(clinton ondale Community Schools, 2012)。这在工程教育中是特别的，因为实验室和家庭作业已经有很大的主动学习范围。除了困惑之外，工程学院也不了解基本水平的主动学习是如何彼此不同的。此外，大多数工程学院没有努力通过文献来寻找答案和解决方案(Camel, 2011)。
Passive learning or traditional instruction based learning can be referred to as an educational approach in which the learners are able to receive new information quietly from the educator, and there is no interruption in the class. Some students are given the opportunity to ask questions occasionally (Foot and Howe, 1998). Since the idea of active learning had been first discussed by Eison and Bonwell (1991), it has been claimed that in order to ensure successful learning of students, the key focus must not only be on listening, but also on involving them actively. They must focus on the construction of knowledge by activities. They have a connection of research in active learning for high order thinking skills as per the Taxonomy of Learning by Bloom et al. (1956).In the specific sense, it had been suggested by Bonwell and Eison (1991) that the students should be engaging in such tasks of higher order thinking like evaluation, synthesis and analysis. Therefore, the traditional method of “sit and get” approach cannot be advised any more as active learning has started to receive significant attention since a number of years (Code & Zaparyniuk, 2009).
Often perceived or presented as a radical trend in terms of traditional instruction, there is frequent polarization of education faculty members on this topic. Active learning has resulted in the attraction of strong advocates across faculty members identifying a number of alternatives to traditional methods of teaching. For a number of faculties, there is an underlying doubt regarding what can be considered as active learning and how it is different from traditional education (Clintondale Community Schools, 2012). This is specific in the education of engineering as there is already a significant scope of active learning by laboratories and homework assignments. In addition to the confusion, faculty of engineering does not have an understanding of how basic levels of active learning are different from one another. Also, most faculties of engineering do not put in efforts of going through literature for answers and solutions (Camel, 2011).