Teaching and learning

All Diploma and Degree Courses at the National Design Academy are offered as online distance learning courses. This means that all interactive course content can be accessed online via our bespoke Virtual learning Studio (VLS) platform, where students can also chat to other students on our lively VLS forum and contact their personal tutor whenever they wish.


What is the VLS?

The VLS is the NDA’s bespoke online learning platform that can be accessed at anytime from anywhere in the world through the internet. The VLS houses all the written, video and interactive course material that is easy to understand and that releases one module of work at a time.

On successful completion of a unit or module, the VLS will update and release the next module of work for your course. It shows you your target date to complete the module so you can plan your time efficiently. Although targets for completion of assignments are important, an extension can usually be granted if requested in advance. We understand that many of our students are juggling other work and family commitments at the same time as their studies.

Am I able to attend classes instead of studying online?

We run in-studio courses for the Professional Interior Design Diploma and the Soft Furnishings and Curtain Making Diploma. These in-studio courses are held at our design studios in Nottingham and run throughout the year.

The in-studio Diploma courses consist of a 1 week course in studio followed by approximately 6 weeks at home, then a final 1 week course in studio. Students also have access to the online course and the Tutor helpline facility during this time.

Many students choose to study their diploma course in-studio, as this enables them to fast track their learning and progress on to an NDA BA (Hons) degree or Foundation Degree.

We also offer one day workshop courses that are held in our design studios in Nottingham. These cover subjects such as AutoCAD, Photoshop, Technical Drawing and Rendering, providing an opportunity for students to supplement their online course

Do I get my own tutor?

The National Design Academy has a team of dedicated staff who are employed to support our students in every way possible to achieve their qualification in design. Each student will be allocated a personal tutor. The personal tutors can be contacted via email phone or Skype, Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm British time. Personal tutorials can also be arranged.

We are exceptionally proud of our team of tutors and believe that their skills, expertise and experience of the interior design industry and education sector and are the backbone of our Academy. We are passionate about design and about helping all NDA students to achieve their design goals.

Take a look through the portfolios of our expert Tutor Team and see for yourself examples of their background and experience.

Are there any assessed exams?

No all assessments are based on coursework, so no exams to worry about.

Will I be able to communicate with other NDA students?

Yes, we have a much celebrated online student forum, located on the VLS. This is a closed forum so only NDA students can join the conversations. We receive fantastic feedback regarding our online forum as students enjoy discussing their design projects, encouraging others and offering advice as well as sharing work and offering top tips for approaching modules.

We have an extremely active student and Alumni-base on the forum and whenever you visit, even evenings or weekends, when Tutors are away from the office, there are always others willing to support you.

How can you teach interior design online?

Interior design is in essence a very practical subject, however our ten step plan makes studying online easy.

  1. Log onto the VLS and complete an online induction which introduces you to your tutor, the VLS and all the information about how the programme will be studied.
  2. Complete a short worksheet on the information covered then upload this to complete the induction process.
  3. The next module is then automatically released.
  4. See your personal deadline and how many days you have to complete the module.
  5. Read the module content and, for degree students, reads more extensively from the reading list supplied online and in the Student Handbook.
  6. Complete formative tasks to help develop the requisite skills and knowledge
  7. Completes all assignment tasks and upload your work through the VLS.
  8. Ask your tutor for feedback before finally submitting work for marking.
  9. Receive detailed written feedback against each assessment criteria and how to improve your performance in the future.
  10. Talk to your tutor on email or Skype

Are there any additional resources that I can access?

The VLS holds a multitude of resources designed to support and aid your learning throughout the course. However, there are a few key elements that students find most useful; namely the online video tutorials, workshops and How-to Guides and all students have access to Free Autocad Software.

Are the courses accredited?

Yes. At NDA we firmly believe that all learning should be accredited.  All NDA Diploma courses are accredited by AIM Awards and our Degrees are awarded by our Academic Partners, Staffordshire University.