Use the Technology, Luke

Utilizing technology — specifically hyperlinks — can help learners make the jump to lightspeed in an online learning environment.

Luke Skywalker inside his X-wing. Luke has the computer-assisted targeting system engaged and is looking through the viewfinder.
Luke Skywalker using the X-wing’s computer-assisted aiming in Star Wars Episode 4, A New Hope.

Online learning is generally challenging for many reasons… for those of us who are accustomed to walking into a classroom, sitting down, listening and taking notes, online learning introduces a whole host of new potential barriers to learning. The online learning environment is especially difficult for those of us who aren’t technologically savvy. So, how can we help learners overcome these barriers? One simple and effective way is to use hyperlinks wherever possible.

In Star Wars Episode 4, A New Hope, Obi-wan guides Luke to use the force rather than the computer-assisted aiming in order to nail the one-in-a-million shot and destroy the Death Star (don’t worry, I won’t spoil the ending). While this advice from Obi-wan is practical in some scenarios, it’s the exact opposite of what we want to do in an online learning space. Forget the force, we need all of the computer assistance we can muster!

Use the Links, Luke

One of the simplest forms of assistance you can provide your learners is to use hyperlinks as often as possible. I’ve lost track of how many times I have been directed to a discussion forum, an assignment, an article, etc. without a link. Sometimes I can find what I’m looking for in under 30 seconds; other times I’m left searching for 5+ minutes — it’s in these instances that a small hurdle turns into a large barrier for some learners. We can avoid this barrier entirely with hyperlinks.

Utilizing hyperlinks is actually a great habit to form for online spaces in general. Directing someone to a Google Doc that you collaborated on last week? Add the link. Directing a student to a specific resource in your online course? Add the link. Referencing a post in a discussion forum? Add the link. By including the hyperlink you are providing the learner a bridge that leads directly to the learning — in other words, you’re helping them make that jump to lightspeed learning!

Remember, variability is the norm, and in an online learning environment there will always be a wide range of technical skills to accommodate. Adding the hyperlink is essential for some and good for all.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s make the jump to lightspeed!

A two-panel image showing Han Solo and Chewbacca inside the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon. Panel 1: Han says, “use the hyperlink, Chewie.” Panel 2: The perspective shifts to show the Millenium Falcon entering lightspeed. Han Solo says, “now we’re learning!” Chewbacca agrees by making Wookie noises.
Han Solo and Chewbacca demonstrating just how powerful hyperlinks can be.

If you enjoyed this post, visit for more content on how to design flexible online learning environments. If you’re ready to revamp your online course and unlock potential, sign up for our online course — Supercharge Your Online Course.

Matthew Riecken
Date Fri Jun 17, 2022
Categories online-learning
< Back to the Blog Feed

Accessibility Statement

Learning Key is committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of technology or ability. We are actively working to increase the accessibility and usability of our website. In the meantime should you experience any difficulty in accessing the Learning Key website or tools, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Copyright ©2023 Learning Key, LCC. All rights reserved.