The internet is awash with opportunities for almost everything. Without needing to leave the comfort of your home, you have the opportunity to communicate with friends, relatives, and strangers wherever they are in the world, challenge them to a game of PUBG, play poker or Words with Friends, or stream just about any movie or TV show ever made.

The origins of the internet stem from the connecting of universities in the United States to allow them to share learning resources and research quicker and more efficiently. In the spirit of the ARPANET, this predecessor network run by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the internet can today help us learn and master just about any topic. Whether it is to improve your professional skills, start a new hobby, or learn a skill that might save your life, the internet has all the information you need.

Here are some skills you can learn online that you probably didn’t realize were possible.

Survival Skills

Learning to cook outdoors is a crucial life skill you can learn online.

For most of human history, we have had to learn how to make a fire, fish, or navigate using only natural surroundings. However, we’ve lost many of these skills with the development of technologies like GPS, modern homes with central heating and cooking appliances as well as the abundance of every food we could possibly imagine on the shelves of our supermarkets and in the warehouses of online retailers.

Ironically, though, the internet can help you learn a whole range of skills that will help you survive in the wilderness or in case of an emergency. The information available ranges from quick guides that will tell you the steps to start a fire using only the materials you’ll find in a forest to whole advanced online courses that will teach you everything you need to know about how to stay alive in even the most extreme circumstances.

There is even a huge community of “preppers,” the term given to people who spend time preparing (or “prepping”) for scenarios where major power cuts or natural disasters cause significant disruptions to modern life. They do this by storing items essential to sustaining life over a period of weeks or months, such as nonperishable foods, battery-powered radios, lights, water-purifying equipment, and candles. They may try to stay at home, perhaps in their basement or another room they have built securely, or they may look to travel into the wilderness away from other people. This prepper community has a wealth of information online, from YouTube tutorials to online forums where preppers can share tips and learn from each other as well as from website owners and bloggers who write in-depth guides.

Cooking

Cooking is both a vital element of human survival and a source of great pleasure for many. Shared from generation to generation, some recipes have become family secrets inherited in the same way as property or money. Cookbooks have also filled the libraries of many food lovers the world over for many years.

The advent of the internet means the sharing of recipes, and even entire cuisines have become much easier. In seconds, you can gain access to an Indian chicken tikka masala recipe, a Russian borscht recipe, and a Korean beef bowl recipe. Even whole industries have sprung up, providing both the recipes and the ingredients to people who enjoy cooking but are short on time, all thanks to the internet.

Online culinary schools go beyond the simple sharing of recipes for those die-hard cooking fans and professionals alike. Companies like Rouxbe offer an online course to help learners develop their pan frying skills, knife skills, and the importance of understanding how to cook with eggs properly. These are more focused on the technical skills of the chef rather than specific recipes that can help when going “off-piste” from a recipe. Content similar to this is also available as video tutorials from websites such as YouTube and Skillshare.

Strategy and Skill Games

Playing games online have been around for about as long as the internet, but it became mainstream thanks to Microsoft’s Xbox Live service. Today, nearly all versions of Windows by default have installed card games such as solitaire, allowing computer users to develop their strategic thinking skills without much need for tuition or training. Other card games, such as poker and blackjack, are also readily available for computer users while more advanced games like RPG game World of Warcraft have taken strategic gaming to new levels.

Computers and the internet don’t only exist to play modern games; they can also help with learning the basic rules and advanced strategies of ancient games like chess and draughts. The rules of each game are available in a quick Google search while avid players post videos and blog posts that discuss the pros and cons of different strategic moves. Large communities have also built up around these games, with many online poker companies allowing players to interact with each other.

You can even learn games of strategy like chess, poker, and even Scrabble relatively quickly, but mastering these skills beyond the most basic levels takes a lot of practice. Indeed, learning to play these games online is a popular option, with online versions available of each. There are also many guides and tutorials on how to play individual versions of poker, such as Omaha Hi-Lo, 7-card stud and Texas Hold ‘em.

As you can see, the internet is chock-full with learning material for almost every imaginable topic, from cooking to poker. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, you will find a wealth of resources online to help you develop your skills and knowledge base, so get to searching.

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