Hyperlink: A Vision for Learning Futures

Continuing the discussion from:

As a casual observer, cool to see how this has evolved from a place to connect personal learning sites (or digital gardens?) into a ‘platform’ for supporting development of micro-communities. Emphasis on magic circles and transformation reminds me of how we think about Hard Fun in the Lifelong Kindergarten community.

Curious to learn more about how y’all are experimenting both within course-communities / clubs and between them (e.g. exploring some of those interdependencies).

Also wonder how you’re thinking about scaffolding course and community development – especially in relation to the vision of supporting communities that might have different values, support different approaches to learning (e.g. some courses seem more grounded in reading and discussion, others in creating artifacts, etc).

Cool Stuff! Loving the Recurse meets “tools for thought” vibe.

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Hey, welcome and sorry for the delayed reply here. Thanks for these comments & questions! Yeah in one sense it feels like we’ve come a long way from the initial hyperlink.academy idea, and in another sense feels like we’re still just getting started :slight_smile:

At some point I’d love to hear more about your experience with the Lifelong Kindergarten community. Are you part of that group currently? I’m a fan generally, somewhat familiar with projects like Scratch and the “Learning Creative Learning” sort of meta-community, but not up to speed on the latest work going on there.

Great question and something we’re starting to think about more as we get more courses on Hyperlink. A few things we’d like to explore further:

  • More persistent communities around specific courses - as more courses run multiple cohorts, having a way to do e.g. alumni events or check-ins with previous students (we’re adding a way to make one-off events that may help a bit with this)
  • Work on supporting more of a Hyperlink-wide community - including things like loose study groups or social events so people can get to know each other across courses, and ways we can help e.g. support independent projects even when you’re not actively enrolled in a course
  • In between course-specific and global, thinking about something like “departments” or sub-schools, how we can bring together related courses and consider programs of study / course sequences (to help generate this, we want to try running some themed Meta Courses where everyone in a cohort is developing courses on related topics)

Also a good question! So far if I had to sum it up, I’d say we’re focusing on shared values while also supporting experimentation with learning formats.

So far, we’ve tried to keep it fairly focused as far as the types of courses, workshopping ideas in the Meta Course and keeping somewhat to creative/tech/internet stuff vs. every possible topic, which helps as it’s to some degree self-selecting / filtered. I think there are also variables that we’re discovering work well and/or people tend to gravitate to naturally (e.g. with length and meeting format), but definitely variance in things like workload, artifacts, balance of sync/async.

Experimentation is one of our values and I like seeing courses play with aspects of structure and community in different ways. One challenge will be consistency across courses / managing expectations e.g. when someone takes multiple courses that are facilitated quite differently. I think some of that will emerge more over time but we can also work on clarifying better both what to expect courses will have in common and where they may vary by design. And for things like departments / course sequences that kind of common scaffolding will likely become more important. Always open to suggestions here!

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Thanks for the thoughtful response Brendan. Likely easier to talk through some of this if you’re up to it! Quick thoughts in the meantime:

Re LLK: We could do a much better job of sharing ongoing work and thinking with the outside world – something that we could learn from what y’all are experimenting with here. And ofc happy to talk more about LLK, projects, etc.

Re course specific communities across cohorts, across courses, and broader thematic communities / ‘structures’: Awesome stuff, couple reactions:

  • I sometimes struggle with using ‘course’ as a departure point for thinking about learning communities, even cohort-based ones. How did y’all think about starting with courses? What other non-course reference points did/have y’all considered when thinking about cohort-based experiences?

  • Re subschools/departments: Was talking to a friend about other metaphors for learning communities (drawing on Papert’s discussion of samba schools) and we got hung up on this idea of skateparks - you can see many different styles, levels of fluency (which are not linear as they vary by style, form, etc.), and forms of interaction (folks practicing, demoing to others, trying things out, experimenting, hanging out, geeking out with others). Great research communities can sometimes feel this way, as can artist communities, etc. Am sure there are other examples as well. Point is that learning often happens by being proximate to people actually doing the thing – and finding opportunities to open up the black box of what that thing is, being able to connect with others, and carve your own path… rambling now but quickly a couple q’s (a) are there other ways to explore the idea of ‘departments’ beyond the vessel of a course or series of courses? (b) something about tradeoffs but my mind is shutting down :slight_smile:

RE experimentation: super dope. Would love to dig deeper into what y’all have learned so far about what seems to work well, etc.

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Oh yeah, same to be honest. For us, it seemed like despite the baggage / imprecision, still the best concise general term…but very interested in other types of learning groups and communities.

I wrote this post earlier — far from complete, but some other kind of lenses on what a course can be / examples we look to:

And I’m a huge fan of a lot of the more alternative radical schools, both historically influential ones and more recent niche internet microschools and whatnot. Been tweeting a bit about that (among other things haha, nearing completion of a 100 tweet thread!) and definitely something we should write about more:

Oh yeah that’s such a fun metaphor! Absolutely, it’d be great to explore that sort of gradient of casual observation, experimentation, more deliberate practice, etc. and how presence / proximity can be such a powerful force for creating the shared context in which that happens.

For sure, definitely want to think about this more. I think whatever we do with “departments” or similar should be pretty fluid, and probably work on multiple levels…e.g. overlapping communities of practice for people creating/facilitating courses, and ways for students to move between not only related courses but adjacent casual study groups or solo learning adventures with a feeling of being part of some wider community (or nested communities…lots of possibilities!)