The Experimental College movement began decades ago. Some attribute its origins to Alexander Meiklejohn, who set up an Experimental College of sorts at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, way back in the 1930s and wrote a book popularizing the term.
But the idea really caught on a few decades later, in the 1960s, in California, Washington, and several other locations around the United States.
Since then, Experimental Colleges have come and gone. There have been several Experimental College around the country, in Seattle and other cities.
Some of them were affiliated with universities, including San Francisco State College (which later became San Francisco State University), Tufts University. Others, like the Seattle Experimental College, were and are completely independent.
What the various E.C. programs have in common is that most are collections of classes taught by working professionals or others who have come to have deep knowledge of a subject, who are using the school as a venue for sharing information with others. Both the current Seattle Experimental College and Rekindle School are working to carry on this tradition.