Upskilling on the Net – How Do We Learn New Things?

Self-improvement, upskilling, knowledge-building – there are a lot of buzzwords out there these days to describe education and life-long learning. With the advent of the internet and the world-wide web has come a change in the way people learn how to do things.

Previously, classroom-based teaching and learning on the job were the main paths to upskilling and learning new things or starting a new hobby.   Often, these methods canprove prohibitive to people in terms of cost and investment in time.

However,over the last twenty years, things have changed. The dawn of the internet age has had a huge impact on how we learn. A quick search on the internet today throws up many ways a person can improve their skillset without having to leave the comfort of the couch.

The rise of the self-help guide and the internet tutorial has seen classroom-based teaching take a back seat, as more and more people turn to DIY and self-help websites to pick up new skills. People are not time-rich anymore and often want to fit learning new things in around a tight schedule of work, childcare and housework (and a social life for the lucky ones who have any spare time left over!).

While classroom-based training still has a part to play in teaching, the internet is a wonderful source for ‘How-to’ materials on every subject you can possibly think of.

If someone wants to learn guitar, for example, the traditional method would be to sign up to (often pricey) guitar classes which they would then attend in person on a weekly basis. This can be time-consuming and in today’s fast-paced world, people don’t necessarily want to spend an extra two to three hours a week commuting to a class and attending in person.

Nowadays, it is also feasible to just simply log onto Youtube to find a myriad of guitar lessons and tutorials. All that is needed is time and application and you can pick up a guitar and teach yourself using the tutorials available on this site.

Do you want to learn how to fix something in your house?  Simple. Google it!  DIY tutorials are all over the internet. Sites like and Familyhandyman and  Extremehowto offer self-help guides and tutorials for budding DIY enthusiasts wanting to learn ‘How to build new cabinet‘or restore an old piece of furniture. Many DIY websites have a self-help section where advice can be found on the best type of tile to use in your bathroom or your kitchen, tips on how to decide whether to go with wood or laminate flooring, advice on heating your home etc.  You can learn a lot by just browsing through these self-help sections of DIY websites.

For a more in-depth look at DIY and very detailed guides on specific problems you may face as you upskill in DIY, Fabhow is a great website.   It is dedicated to covering typical ‘How To’ questions around DIY, cooking, self-improvement, health and beauty, gardening and so on, a one-stop shop for any hobbyist. The section that deals specifically with Home and Garden and DIY is excellent: Instead of calling a plumber, a quick look at ‘How to unclog a drain’ can help you to solve your drain problem yourself, without the expense of a call-out charge.

I.T. skills are in huge demand in the labour market of today. Many different tips and tricks can be learned via the internet. Learn basic WordPress skills and website building on WordPress or teach yourself computer programming, Java, SQL and other programming languages via Sitepoint for example. There are many free courses on the web covering computer skills, along with courses that can provide a certificate on completion and enhance the skillset on your CV in the process.

For anything along the theme of self-improvement, DIY and cooking skills, Fabhow is an excellent source. You want to learn how to cook but are embarrassed to admit that you don’t really know the basics? Check out one of the cooking guides like: how to peel a garlic quickly, like a pro.

What about basic first aid skills? Fabhow can instruct you on how to treat spider bites. Have you ever spilled gravy on a brand-new coat and you have no idea how to remove it?  Your coat is ruined!   Or, you can figure out how to clean off the stain.  Look no further than fabhow as it is a one-stop-shop for all your ‘How to’ questions.

For gardening enthusiasts, in the old days a trip to the library to get a few books on the specific subject of interest was one simple way to learn new gardening skills. Now there are many different sources of gardening information and home improvement guides to be found on the internet.

There are a huge number of gardening ‘How To’ type videos on YouTube. Another great one-stop-shop is Pinterest. This website differs from YouTube in that it stores and groups series of images into specific subjects. It is a great source of inspiration if you plan to re-design your garden, completely remodel your house or redesign the look of an individual room and are searching for a new theme but need some fresh ideas.

To learn more about gardening, if someone wanted to learn how to grow spinach for example, they could check the DIY step-by-step lesson with  beautiful images. Ever wanted to grow your own peas? Fresh, home-grown peas are full of nutrients that are often lost in the storage and supermarket-shelving process. The DIY tutorial on ‘How to grow peas’ can teach you how to grow your own organic peas in the kitchen garden.

If you want to learn something new, or build on skills you already have, there are so many places on the web that can be a great starting point. Of course, the internet can’t solve every problem. You still need to sit down and do the hard graft, learn and practice, in order to get better at something.

But it has had a huge impact on the way people learn and has opened up worlds that may have previously been considered quite exclusive and elitist. It removes the shame that people can feel if they want to ask a question about something that may seem really basic and are afraid to ask in person.

Now, you can literally ask anything and you are likely to land on a link that will lead you to the answer to what you want to know. All it takes is a bit of effort and research. That part hasn’t changed!

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