Active learning is a process whereby students engage in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content.
Active learning is a special case of semi-supervised machine learning in which a learning algorithm is able to interactively query the user (or some other information source) to obtain the desired outputs at new data points. In statistics literature it is sometimes also called optimal experimental design.
There are situations in which unlabeled data is abundant but manually labeling is expensive. In such a scenario, learning algorithms can actively query the user/teacher for labels. This type of iterative supervised learning is called active learning. Since the learner chooses the examples, the number of examples to learn a concept can often be much lower than the number required in normal supervised learning. With this approach, there is a risk that the algorithm be overwhelmed by uninformative examples. Recent developments are dedicated to multi-label active learning, hybrid active learning and active learning in a single-pass (on-line) context, combining concepts from the field of Machine Learning (e.g., conflict and ignorance) with adaptive, incremental learning policies in the field of Online machine learning.