FLL was started by a WPI student (Dean Kamen) who dropped out at the end of his second year as he had invented the first drug infusion pump. Testing was done at the UMASS medical school which is 0.9 miles from WPI. See https://www.notablebiographies.com/news/Ge-La/Kamen-Dean.html.
Dean’s strong interest in project learning took root while he was still a student in his Long Island secondary school. Dean is somewhat of an autodidact. Projects motivate these students and their progress is not strictly defined by classroom experiences. This is why WPI and Olin have worked so long designing their non-traditional approaches to education.
As classrooms are a cost-effective way to relay information (tools), they remain an important part of the process, but are not the entire process. The project experience serves to fire the necessary trial and ERROR associated with new ideas. Private tutorials are just not economically feasible. Project teams get closer to tutorial and also have the advantage of developing the interpersonal skills needed to accept the ideas of other teammates.