"In 1992, the author published a paper entitled 'Hypermedia and discovery based learning: A historical perspective'. It traced the swings in the history of educational thinking between, on the one hand, support for conventional curriculum based learning and, on the other, the non-linear approach expressed by many educational commentators over the centuries. According to the author, hyperlink technology would finally allow learning truly to mesh with the free association characteristics of the human mind. Once the technology had matured, it would be a teaching resource that would transform passive learners into active thinkers. Thirteen years on, the author takes a critical look at those optimistic conclusions. Are students better equipped to learn than previously? Are they able to think reflectively to a greater degree than their counterparts of a decade or two ago? This present paper addresses such questions, the result being that the guarded optimism of 1992 has turned to a deep pessimism."