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The Manual




Creating a Course


A gif of a spellbook floating in the air

Welcome to Hyperlink!

Hyperlink is a course platform and online school built for seriously effective learning.

This manual describes how it works, and how you can get involved.

πŸ“š For more teaching and learning resources β€” plus favorite books, updates and more β€” visit the Hyperlink Library. The Manual links to Library resources where relevant.

Active, Effective Learning

Learning happens in all kinds of ways, and everyone has different preferences. Some people want intimate conversation and detailed feedback. Some want hands-on work, learning via trial and error. Some want to listen to lectures, or digest books and videos. And so on!

Many learning environments, both in schools and online, are rooted in lecture-based formats. This mode of learning isn't bad…but it's rarely the most effective. Chances are if you've tried an online course and failed to find it engaging, it's more an issue of video fatigue than a problem with you.

Hyperlink aims to correct this imbalance, with a strong focus on enabling active, participatory learning experiences.

Learning Infrastructure

Hyperlink's learning infrastructure β€” course details, easy enrollment and payments, and powerful community discussion space β€” makes up a simple yet flexible learning environment. We build on open source software as much as possible, and are constantly improving the platform.

  • For learners, Hyperlink is a place to explore fascinating topics with other people. Courses here are designed to be rigorous, but also highly participatory and β€” dare we say it β€” fun!
  • For course creators and facilitators, Hyperlink is a place to experiment with subject matter and learning structures. We provide the technical scaffolding, from payment handling to discussion software, freeing you to create powerful collaborative learning experiences.

How It Works

Hyperlink hosts a collection of courses and clubs.

Each course is a template for a learning experience, describing a curriculum that will be followed in service of a learning goal. Clubs are similarly learning-focused, but more informal and peer-driven.

Each course can be run repeatedly, in independent cohorts β€” groups of people following the course's curriculum on a specific schedule, learning together.

We encourage courses on Hyperlink to run multiple times, so that with each cohort, the course as a whole becomes more and more effective.


Every course is unique. All courses aim to create meaningful learning experiences, but each follows a different structure and expects different levels of commitment from learners.

When choosing a course β€” or creating one β€” you're deciding what to learn, and how to learn it.

Elements of a course:

  1. A topic to learn
  2. A curriculum detailing what will be learned and how
  3. A public forum for anyone to engage with the course material, even if they aren't enrolled
  4. Maintainer(s) who develop the course, improve it over time, and manage the course forum
  5. Cohorts that bring the course to life; see below!


Elements of a cohort:

  1. An instance of the course, run with a group of learners on a specific schedule
  2. A private forum serving as community discussion space for the cohort
  3. Facilitator who coordinates the logistics for the cohort e.g. following the curriculum, leading discussions, and managing the forum
  4. Learners who enroll in the cohort and engage with the curriculum and other learners

Note: right now, only a course's maintainers can facilitate new cohorts. Eventually it may be possible for anyone to apply to facilitate a course.


Clubs on Hyperlink are, like courses, intended for serious learning, convening small groups of peers to explore niche topics together. Both are led by a facilitator, and run for multiple sessions over a fixed duration.

They differ in goals, commitment level, and overall structure. Courses are driven by a structured curriculum, with well-defined learning outcomes. Clubs are more experimental, driven by a peer group exploring together.

Clubs are also more lightweight β€” a good way to test out an idea for a learning group without necessarily maintaining it over time. Most of what we describe in the Manual for "courses" applies to "clubs" as well, though we note differences where relevant.

For examples of both courses and clubs, view the list of Hyperlink Courses!

These are the things that make Hyperlink Hyperlink β€” guiding ideas and principles for how we think meaningful learning should happen.

  • Serious Learning: We're aiming for the unreasonably effective learning of complex ideas. This means: be ambitious! Let's go beyond reading lists, videos, and unstructured conversations. We want to explore powerful ideas, in effective and meaningful ways.
  • Active and Engaging: Hyperlink courses are small yet powerful machines for learning. They will be fun, but they're not meant for passive entertainment. They will empower you to learn tangible things, but they're not meant as just another credential. They will transform you in ways small and large, and you should be prepared to engage and put in the work.
  • Experiment and Evolve: A course is not a fixed format. It's a system that's evolving towards the goal of facilitating effective learning. Each time learners embark on a cohort is a new opportunity to evaluate the structures of the course, and improve them.
  • Powerful Yet Legible: Courses on Hyperlink are rigorous, but also designed to be straightforward and focus on the things that matter most. They're not intended to capture every possible bell and whistle, but rather focus on providing the essential structure needed to facilitate effective learning.
  • Learning with People: On Hyperlink, learning is a social endeavor. Autodidacticism is awesome, but it has its limitations! We believe that some of the most impactful learning experiences take shape collaboratively.
  • Open, Generous, Kind: Courses on Hyperlink are designed as intimate learning environments, where much of the value emerges from shared curiosity, exploration with others. As such, it's important to be open-minded, positive, encouraging, helpful, generous, and kind.

The Manual

…is what you're reading now β€” Hyperlink's documentation, including all kinds of detail on how the site works, as well as the principles that guide us.

As noted above, you'll find additional resources in the Hyperlink Library.

Visit any page from the sidebar, or click one of the sections below to continue!