Model-based methods (such as value or policy iteration) use a model of the environment, which is usually represented as a Markov decision process. More specifically, the model consists of the transition and reward functions of the Markov decision process, which should represent the dynamics of the environment. For example, in policy iteration, the rewards (used to estimate the policy or value functions) are not the result of the interaction with the environment but given by the MDP (the model of the environment), so the decisions are made according to the reward function (and the transition function) of the MDP that represents the dynamics of the environment. Model-based methods are not (usually) dependent on past actions. For example, policy iteration converges to the optimal policy independently of the initial values of the states, the initial policy or the order of iteration through the states.
Monte Carlo methods do not use such a model (the MDP), even though the assumption that the environment can be represented as an MDP is (often implicitly) made (and the MDP might actually be available). In the case of Monte Carlo methods, all estimates are solely based on the interaction with the environment. In general, Monte Carlo methods are based on sampling (or random) operations. In the case of reinforcement learning, they sample the environment. The samples are the rewards that are obtained when certain actions are taken from certain states.