Naomi DeBruyn

Location: Warburg, Alberta, Canada

Naomi DeBruyn is no stranger to online learning, but that doesn’t mean she’s always been a fan. Her past experience left her thinking that online courses offered only “the absolute minimum basics, nothing that would strain your brain.”

So, when she came across a Facebook ad for Udemy, she was skeptical. But with many courses available for free, she had nothing to lose.

Naomi started out with “Extreme Weather 101,” a course offered by the National Environmental Education Foundation (read about how NEEF leveraged a Social Innovation grant from Udemy to create this course). It caught her eye because she “loves storms.” And, contrary to all of her expectations, the course delivered. “I found it quite fascinating and learned a few things I hadn’t known,” she says.

In addition, the course-taking experience itself was positive for Naomi. Unlike those earlier online courses, Udemy didn’t force Naomi to stick to a predetermined schedule. “The only pressure is what you put on yourself,” she says. “No one is standing over you, making sure you finish or checking your quiz answers.”

After the NEEF course, Naomi was confident Udemy would be a sound investment and she dug deeper into the course collection. She was “partly dabbling” — casually looking for topics of interest — and partly interested in finding a ways to make some extra money. A Reiki course by instructor Lisa Powers “changed my life.” The course content was well-organized, and Powers’ voice was so easy to listen to, “I didn’t want to turn her off.” Naomi was also very impressed by the level of interaction students had with each other and Powers’ own engagement with her followers, such as leading distance healing sessions every Wednesday. “The woman is amazing! She answers everything and has gone above and beyond to make sure everyone is doing well,” says Naomi.

Eventually, Naomi thinks she’d like to launch her own Reiki practice, but for now she’s following Powers closely and using what she’s learned to treat friends and family. She’s also exploring Udemy for her personal enrichment, including with Sharon Ramel’s spirituality courses and Sal Jade’s lessons in tarot and meditation. As a freelance writer, Naomi is considering a course to learn Scrivener book-writing software.  

Naomi’s overall goal is to better herself, and Udemy “works well with my life.” When she can’t get to sleep in the middle of the night, she can always hop on Udemy and watch a lecture. “I love to learn, and I hate it when my brain goes stagnant. Udemy is basically offering me a lifetime of opportunity.”