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How to Use Online Learning Resources to Master a New Skill

Education and entertainment might seem like mutually exclusive pursuits, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Online learning platforms and other resources are making the process of learning a new skill accessible to anybody with a keen interest and a decent internet connection – and they’re making it fun. Whereas learning something new in adulthood used to mean driving to an evening class or booking time off to attend a training course, these days it can be much simpler.  

Whether you want to learn how to knit a pair of socks, play a game of poker, or look after your fussy house plants, there is bound to be the perfect online learning resource out there for you. It doesn’t matter if you learn better through video, audio, written instructions or practical application, the internet covers all of these methods and more. Not all resources come with a hefty fee attached either; whilst some are subscription based, many give away their knowledge for free in the name of leveling up the global community. 

Here are some of the best online learning resources available today.  

Specialist Websites & Platforms 

Sometimes, the best way to find the highest quality information is to go to the source. Specialist websites will focus on one topic or one subject area and provide in-depth information on that singular topic. The main benefit of this approach is that any guides will have been written by an expert in the field and, rather than provide a shallow look at your selected subject in general, they will be able to offer a deep dive into the details. 

For example, say you have an interest in learning how to play poker. Online guides from industry leaders outlining the rules of poker provide in-depth, accessible information about getting started with different hands, dealing, betting, stakes and more. After accessing the rules page of a trusted platform like PokerStars, players can start safe in the knowledge that you have a good level of understanding around the game. If any questions arise, they can refer back to a familiar resource which will provide clear and easily understandable advice. 


Online Courses 

Alternatively, a platform full of ready made online courses may be what you are looking for. Masterclass is distinguished by its stable of famous creatives and auteurs who teach many of the website’s most popular courses.

For example, you can sign up and learn the Art of Storytelling from Neil Gaiman or Creative Writing from Margaret Atwood. If you’re looking for some life skills, then Bill Clinton teaches a Masterclass on inclusive leadership and Dr Jane Goodall teaches one on conservation. Of course, such big names do come at a price, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for an in-depth study session with a well-known teacher.  

User-Generated Resources 

At the other end of the scale come user-generated resources, usually hosted on social media platforms like YouTube, Reddit, Patreon and Facebook. Some of these may come with a small cost attached, but many experts will publish their knowledge for free in order to grow their audience or simply through altruistic motivation. When you are looking to pick up practical skills such as how to knit a blanket or how to build a birdbox, then most people find video the easiest medium to learn by. Thankfully, standard YouTube videos are free to view and there are thousands of how-to guides uploaded by users. 

If you’re willing to pay for more focused coaching, then Patreon is the perfect platform. It’s easy for any creator to set up a profile with paid tiers for different levels of access to their content. In the case of learning how to sing, for example, followers might pay a small monthly fee for access to pre-recorded video lessons, audio examples, and admittance to a closed chat server where they can directly interact with both their teacher and other learners.

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