The internet is a powerful tool that has changed just about every aspect of our lives. Checking your bank balance no longer requires a long-winded journey to the bank and the arduous task of balancing your chequebook; buying a house no longer involves physically visiting every estate agent in your area; and booking a holiday can be done in just a couple of clicks. You can even have a little device in your house that you talk to.
Shopping, communication, and entertainment have all been completely transformed by the internet and the services that it has spawned. Even our daily habits are radically different. Think of a concert or other event; 30 years ago, people would have just stood watching the action, while today they record the moment on their phones in order to share it online later.
A similar transformation has also taken place with our holiday photos. We don’t often carry a separate camera to capture moments, instead, we snap them on our phones and create a running commentary through social media.
The realm of education has also completely changed at the hands of the web. Today, many universities provide distance learning courses to give even more people access to the opportunities that knowledge and qualifications can provide. But there are also courses and resources available online to help you learn just about anything, from how to play the piano to how to knit a sweater.
Among these are some more niche and unusual skills that you may not have realised you could learn online.
Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world, thanks in part to huge international tournaments like the World Series of Poker. Millions of people play it every day, some for fun and some professionally.
If you’ve never played it before, poker can seem very complicated. Especially since newbies need to get their heads around dozens of new words and phrases, the different betting rounds, and the value of each possible hand. This is also complicated by the fact that there are dozens of variants, each with its own unique rules.
In the past, learning the game required you to read a chunky book and find some patient friends that were willing to help you find your feet. But today, thanks to the internet, there is a wealth of online resources available, including guides that explain how to play poker, video tutorials on sites like YouTube, and Twitch channels that show live games with commentary.
It may seem a little strange to learn how to swim on the internet, but when you examine the concept a little bit, it makes much more sense. Of course, you won’t be able to physically learn how to float, paddle, or implement the techniques of various strokes until you get into a pool, but online tutorials can provide some important theory.
When you learn to drive, you first learn about the theory elements, such as the Highway Code and how the different pedals interact with the car’s engine and wheels. The same is true for online swimming resources; they can give you a fundamental understanding of the steps you’ll need to take when you actually do take the plunge.
Perhaps more importantly, YouTube videos and other guides can also help people who are nervous about swimming feel at ease.
You might think that the clowns in the circus are just larking around in whatever way they see fit. But actually, it takes a lot of work and training to be a successful clown.
Anyone who has watched the sitcom Modern Family will be aware that there are many different types of clowns. Online courses will help you to understand the difference, choose which type of clown you want to be, and detail the steps you need to take to become a professional clown.
One of these courses is “Clown for fun and profit: Learning the art of clowning” by J. R. Boyle. For less than £30, students will pick up skills like balloon twisting and using props, as well as professional development and how to find clients.