Posted in Teaching & Learning

Active And Passive Learning

Passive learning is knowledge that you pick up without even trying, by just paying attention. Like learning the cast of your favorite TV show, or the lyrics to your favorite song. It tends to fade quickly without repetition or reinforcement, but we are doing it constantly, like a whale straining plankton, often without even realizing it.

Active learning is learning with a purpose. It is driven by curiosity and interest, and usually leads somewhere. This mode of learning is more like a squirrel gathering nuts.

Both are useful, both are going on all the time, but active learning is the kind that tends to lead to improvement (of oneself and the world).


Dane Dormio is an online tutor and academic coach who specializes in helping all types of students achieve life and academic success, especially homeschooled students and those preparing for STEM careers. More information and resources can be found on his website at

One thought on “Active And Passive Learning

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s