A front page NY Times article explains that at M.I.T. "The physics department has replaced the traditional large introductory lecture with smaller classes that emphasize hands-on, interactive, collaborative learning. Last fall, after years of experimentation and debate and resistance from students, who initially petitioned against it, the department made the change permanent. Already, attendance is up and the failure rate has dropped by more than 50 percent."
A prof said this: "Just as you can’t become a marathon runner by watching marathons on TV...likewise for science, you have to go through the thought processes of doing science and not just watch your instructor do it." Replace "doing science" with "thinking" and you have a good classroom, in any field.