A few thoughts:
I like the idea of the students writing their own “manuals”. A friend of mind teaches a freshman computer apps class. He realized, after a couple years, that his former students were having trouble with a project they had to complete in their senior years. So he added the unit to his own course, and has the students create instructions for themselves. Then, years later, they just refer to their own work to complete the other project.
Kent’s point about teaching driving, or operating heavy machinery is the same one we hear in K-12 about math facts. There are some cases where there are “right ways” to do things, and those ways have to be learned. But the educational system can’t be just that anymore. We can’t survive on checklists. We have to teach our students to be collaborators, innovative thinkers, and problem solvers. That’s where these teaching and learning styles come into play.
It sounds like it was an interesting, perhaps eye-opening experience for everyone involved.