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Tips to Getting the Most Out of Online Training

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Learn the best tips for online training

When Behind the Design first transitioned to online classes, it seemed that everyone had an issue with the new way of doing things. 

Design is a collaborative field where we create together. Many interior designers felt they were missing out on an essential element of fellowship when working with others through a screen. 

Two years later, it seems that our online classes are almost always full, while on-site classes have significantly fewer students. Many designers have found that the convenience of taking an online course outweighs what they may be missing out on by not being physically in the classroom with their peers and instructors.

More people than ever before are creating online courses you can use as an opportunity for continuing education. Online courses represent an area of actual growth for many industries, but how do students decide which courses to take? How can you get the most out of your online course, even if the circumstances are less than ideal? 

If you are thinking about getting your professional development for interior designers online, here is what you need to know to make the most of the opportunity. 


Set a Designated Time to Review the Course

One of the biggest pitfalls of online courses is that there is no specified time enrollees must attend the class. For many interior designers, this means that they will sign up for interior design courses online, procrastinate, then fail to complete the course. The best way to ensure that you are getting the most out of this learning opportunity is to set a strict schedule for yourself. 

 Just as you would have to set aside time if you were attending the class in person, make sure to set aside specific times that you will work on your online interior design courses. This scheduling might mean that you spend a couple of hours working on the content in the morning before your day gets too hectic. Maybe you are a night owl and thrive when given the opportunity to learn just before you go to bed. 

No matter what time works best for you, make sure that your schedule allows you time and freedom to review the course materials consistently. 


Create a Study Space

When you have no place that you need to be, it can be tempting to curl up on the couch with your laptop or tablet to watch the videos from your instructor. Many people have the television on in the background, children clamoring for attention, and pets who want to snuggle close. While some people may do this and focus well, others find it too distracting. 

One key tip to help you get the most out of an online course is to set up a specific study space. Your study space should be completely free of distractions. If you don’t have an office you can retreat to for “class time,” then you may want to invest in a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones that drown out the noise going on all around you. 

Keep study materials on hand in this space so that you are always prepared to do the work and assignments as they are given. 


Practice What You Learn

Is there anything worse than spending hours toiling over interior design courses online only to find that you won’t use any of the skills being taught? It can be tempting to ignore what you are learning since you won’t be hands-on in the classroom. Many interior designers attend online courses but don’t put what they learn into practice.  

Create a clear path for yourself to apply what you are learning in real ways. Make sure to take studious notes while following along with your online classes and see how you can apply those skills to your business right away. Maybe they can help with an ongoing project, or you can implement some new marketing tools to maximize your business efforts. 


Follow Instructions in the Video

It can be pretty tempting to watch the videos of your online instructor teaching new concepts or reviewing things you might have picked up years ago without interacting with the material. You might assume that you already know how to do certain things and therefore don’t need to figure out how to implement them in your practice. Alternatively, you might make a note to return to this material later but never set aside the time to do so.  

The best thing you can do is follow the instructions in the video as closely as possible as you work through the material. If your instructor asks you to pause the video to work on an assignment, do it right away instead of putting it off for later. Chances are that you will never come back to the assigned task if you leave it for later. 


Seek Out Connection

Even though you are working remotely to complete your assignments, there is still something to be said about the collaborative nature of interior design. While education in the workplace is still changing, you will find that you need to hold yourself accountable for forging meaningful connections with other designers and students.  

Even if you can’t get together over a cup of coffee and some samples, virtual interactions with like-minded peers can be beneficial for applying knowledge to real-world scenarios and forging essential business connections.  

With the advent of Zoom and Skype, you can interact with any student you encounter in your classes and edify one another. 


Work in Time Blocks

Have you ever sat down to work on online courses for interior design and found yourself zoning out after a couple of hours staring at the computer screen? This problem is common for many students, and it keeps them from getting the maximum benefit out of their continuing education courses. While it may seem like a good idea to set aside two to three hours at a time to work on course materials, this can be overwhelming. 

Instead, work in time blocks on your online interior design courses and give yourself room for breaks. Spend 45 minutes watching the class, pause the video to work on an assignment, and get a cup of coffee. If you still have the time left to dedicate to your online learning, then come back and watch a little more of the video.  

The benefit of signing up for online classes is that you don’t have to watch everything all at once. You can go at your own pace and ensure that you absorb every last detail to apply to your practice and clients. 


Try Different Types of Courses

If you are taking interior design courses online, it might be tempting to take the easiest classes you can find for your CEUs. Unfortunately, this frequently means that you may not get much out of the classes you attend. Instead of choosing the path of least resistance, challenge yourself to try new things through an online course.  

For example, many continuing education units center around products. Instead of taking a class on a product you’re already familiar with, branch out and try some of these topics instead:  

  • Social media management
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Leadership
  • New design theories
  • Sketching classes or art classes


Sparking your interest in a new area can be a powerful tool to help you get more out of a potential course. You will be far more motivated to watch the videos, less likely to tune out the instructor, and you’ll learn a new skill all at the same time. Sampling different types of classes can work to your benefit.  


Take Time for Self-Care

Working online interior design courses into your busy schedule can be a challenge. You already run your interior design firm, manage employees, and do all of the creation and inspiration for your clients.  

How will you find the time to make the most of an online course, too? Remember that learning is not a race and that you need to take time for self-care. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the volume of work you have to do for your interior design courses online, set aside an hour or two for you to step away from it all. You can go for a quick run, enjoy a hot mug of coffee, or do anything else that might recharge your body and mind. The odds are that this time away will allow you to come back to your work with more focus, clarity, and motivation. 


Consider Your Learning Style

How do you best absorb new material? Some people learn best by listening to others which can be a real asset when thinking about online courses for interior design. Others do their best work when they can visually see the material on paper, which means they may need to take copious notes to review later. 

Some do best when they can be hands-on and apply what they learn. Maybe they need to have a fidget spinner or a tool to manipulate while working through the material, and that’s totally okay. 

No matter what your learning style is, it is crucial to tap into it if you want to make the most of your study time. Professional development for interior designers is essential, and you want to get the most out of the classes you pay hard-earned money for.  

Think about how you can best absorb the material presented to you, and then try to apply a few ways to add it to your learning routine. This may mean that you need to take more time to review the material if you want it to sink in. 


Making the Most of Online Learning

At Behind the Design, we know that online learning may not be ideal for every enrollee, but it certainly has its place in education. It is experiencing massive growth in our industry and every industry. If you are ready to embrace this new trend, it’s time to investigate some of the CEU courses we offer on business and marketing.  

We can help you make the mindset shift toward professional development with some of our newest courses that come to you from the comfort of your design studio or home office!

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