For centuries passive learning has been a favored approach of teaching at the unversity level. Faculty members would teach large groups of students in lecture halls. There would be essentially no interaction, no engagement, no active learning. Take a moment to view this video produced by Michael Wesch's spring 2007 cultural anthropology class at Kansas State University. It explains well that passive approaches do not succeed with the 21st century student.
More on the study here:
A presentation blog dedicated to active learning:
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) just released results of a national study that shows online students report deeper learning and more engaged learning than their on-campus counterparts: