I guess the foundation of my open fiction idea stems from problem-based learning. PBL has it's roots in the Canadian medical field. Back in the late 60s medical students weren't happy with the status quo, instructors weren't happy with the status quo, so a guy by the name of Howard Barrows decided to try a problem-based approach to instruction. The idea was that rather than have students sit in lecture halls to learn content, then go into the real world and basically solve problems all day, why not teach them the content by giving them the kinds of problems they would face in the future?
It is similar to an apprenticeship model, where a person comes and learns at the hands of an expert, not in a separate location, but right there in the thick of things. There is quite a bit to problem-based learning, and I won't go into all of it now, but suffice it to say that studies have shown that problem based learning is about as good as the traditional method of teaching (lecture based) when it comes to teaching content, and much better when it comes to teaching strategies and problem solving skills.
So, the idea is that we give students problems that will help them learn both content and strategies, and this will better prepare them for the 'real world'.
Does this relate to writing? I think it does, and it leads to some interesting lines of thought. I'll tackle that topic another day.