Academies of Digital Learning

Become an expert on a specific area of interest through our Academies of Digital Learning. These academies allow you to focus on specific areas of design interest while earning some or all of your annual CE requirements. Upon successful completion of each academy, you will receive continuing education credits and a digital badge that demonstrates your mastery and achievement. Proudly display your digital badge on your LinkedIn profile, blog or email signature and showcase your expertise.

Want more information on our Academies of Digital Learning or digital badges? View our FAQ page.

When it comes to the art and science of designing truly unique and personalized residential spaces, modern custom homes need to embody the hopes, dreams, and visions of clients who look to their homes for comfort, performance, and flexibility. The Custom Home Academy offers an array of courses that dive into the various aspects of designing a one-of-a-kind home, examining the many trends, styles, and processes for creating a unique residence, including the resurgence of Mid-Century Modern design, and incorporating glass for breathtaking views and natural light. We will explore single-family home design—for both new homes and renovations—and the importance of lighting, thermal comfort, outdoor space, accessibility, and sustainability, as well as the latest innovations in 3-D design. With the world constantly evolving, this Academy provides architects with the knowledge and skills required to adapt to changing environments and design trends, while meeting the specific needs of clients. After all, there is no place like home.

Concrete is a go-to choice for architects worldwide. The Concrete Academy brings you a range of courses focused on the many decorative and performance aspects of concrete, known widely for its affordability, versatility, and durability. Concrete is often chosen for its thermal mass, which can help reduce energy use in buildings. The concept of Net Zero buildings has gained traction, and concrete manufacturers are exploring ways to reduce the carbon footprint of their products. The academy covers topics such as the use of recycled CO2, life cycle analyses, and insulating concrete form systems. This academy also emphasizes the use of circular materials and construction practices to help reduce carbon emissions. What’s more, find out about the use of decorative ad exposed concrete in both indoor and outdoor settings, and other developments in concrete innovation. The academy provides architects, designers, and other building professionals with the knowledge they need to stay ahead of the curve in this ever-evolving field, whether it's new concrete formulations or cutting-edge construction techniques.

This training program will introduce architects to the concepts, science, and mitigation of thermal bridging in building envelope systems. The four-course academy includes a review of how current NYS energy code regulates thermal bridging, and then explores thermal bridging in three common construction types and building case studies. The case studies highlight the physics of thermal bridging within specific details, impacts thermal bridging on building performance, durability and comfort, and common design solutions to mitigate thermal bridging and achieve desired thermal performance targets.

Accessible design is growing. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landmark civil rights legislation that increases access and opportunity for people with disabilities across community life, has been the law of the land for more than three decades. Taking that as a starting point, the architecture, design, and construction industries have gone beyond mere code adherence, constantly working to find new and innovative means to approach accessible and universal design in creative ways to enhance the built environment for all—from ADA signage and designing ADA-compliant commercial showers and bathrooms to modular construction that embraces a new vision for accessibility and innovative solutions for learning environments. As noted by the CDC, one in four U.S. adults currently lives with a disability. With demographics changing and Baby Boomers aging, there has never been a more critical time for architects and designers to understand the full range of options, challenges, and opportunities surrounding this critical law. This academy is focused on a range of design methodologies that will make life more equitable for those who have disabilities today, while also keeping future generations in mind.

A tight residential housing market underscores the need for a wide breadth of smart, accessible, sustainable, and high-performing multifamily projects. As the demand and desire for distinctive multifamily housing continues to expand, architects and designers are incorporating innovative practices, strategies, and material trends to create spaces that rise to the occasion both here and abroad. The Multifamily Housing Academy puts the spotlight on multifamily housing projects—from affordable and inclusive to high-end luxury, while also addressing aesthetics, labor, community, sustainability, resiliency, and connectivity.

Architectural acoustics is specifically related to the interactions of sound both within and between architectural spaces. As the events of the past few years have shown us, designing comfortable, workable and livable indoor spaces across a range of applications is integral to the human experience. While acoustic design has long been a desired goal, the art and science of acoustics has taken on new and undisputed importance. With that in mind, as architects begin to develop alternative ways of seeing spaces that incorporate better indoor environmental quality, the range of acoustical designs and products has expanded to meet the moment. The Acoustics Academy provides a look at traditional acoustical choices as well as cutting-edge systems that seamlessly integrate with a new aesthetic. It explores how acoustical products can support sustainable spaces, meet occupant comfort and health needs, and rise to the design and performance goals owners, occupants, and architects are aiming to achieve. This academy illustrates how good acoustical design is a catalyst toward new and improved artful innovation within the built space.

Innovative products, new strategies and advanced technologies have led to a heightened appreciation for the use of glass in today’s building design. From retail and workplace spaces to arts centers and high-end residences, glass elevates the built environment by putting a light-filled, high-performing, energy-efficient, contemporary spin on modern architecture. Glass coatings and insulating glass units improve energy performance by managing solar heat and can minimize glare for clearer views. Technology allows facades and curtain walls to appear seamless, while having an improved capacity to withstand storm impacts and to meet rigorous building codes. All of this can be done with style, using colored glass, clear to the edge glass, or anything in between that allows natural light into spaces, while enhancing energy efficiency and occupant comfort. Glass lends a sense of space and can seem to remove the barriers between nature and the indoors. The courses in the Glass in Architecture Academy cover a wide range of glass-related topics so you can begin your own exploration of the innovative use of glass in your projects.

Equal parts strength and beauty, the timelessness of ceramic tile as a building material cannot be overstated. In a class of its own, tile blends the qualities of aesthetics, durability, resilience, versatility, and cost effectiveness to create spaces that combine an old-world feel with a modern twist on design. This academy guides learners in both the practical and the stylistic specification of tile for both interior and exterior applications with courses that delve into known challenges (and how to avoid potential pitfalls) as well as the latest tile industry standards. Highlighting the latest trends in tile—from green tiles, soft-textured, and flecked effect to extra-large format, extra-thick tiles, and tiles that support biophilia, the Tile Academy sheds light on what’s next in ceramic tile innovation, illustrating how and why tile continues to push architecture into new possibilities.

Don’t miss the Final taking place online and in-person at Coverings 2023, April 18-21 in Orlando

Photography by Robert Stevens

The popularity of wood in design and construction continues to rise as architects and designers take advantage of its positive attributes including natural beauty, strength, and versatility. The 2021 International Building Code (IBC ) allows new tall wood buildings up to 18 stories, which has opened the door to a multitude of new designs for fire- and strength-tested products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT). Biophilic design featuring exposed wood and paneling are helping to elevate commercial spaces to address the health and well-being ambitions of companies seeking to create more natural work environments since returning from pandemic shutdowns.

From personal health and well-being to widespread global concerns, such as the pandemic, climate change, and the recent uptick in natural disasters, indoor environmental quality is more important than ever. Architects and designers have a unique opportunity and obligation to be good stewards when it comes to smart strategies that address these issues. This academy provides a deep dive into protecting people, property, and community by designing buildings that enhance occupant comfort and health, as well as resilience and the health of our planet. Topics will include attention to acoustics, ventilation, natural air, natural light, views, and, of course, specifying clean, sustainable materials.

As the world faces unprecedented and ongoing challenges in terms of climate change, the economy, and pandemic response, metal building innovations are a bright spot. In fact, in the field of architecture, metal walls and roofing offer sustainable, flexible, maximum-performance solutions that not only address these issues, but make the design process fresh and exciting—from color palettes to ease of installation. Metal walls composed of metal composite material (MCM), insulated metal panels (IMPs) and single skin metal panels offer durable and stunning architectural facades in many shapes and finishes. When it comes to low-slope metal, steep slope metal, and IMP roofing and components, the designs, energy savings and durability attributes are innumerable.

Change is inevitable, and that holds true for the dynamic nature of architecture. Buildings move over time, and all the elements that touch the building are in movement, too — air, sun, earth, fire, water, and people. Structural engineers study it. Architects plan for it. In the Mastering Movement™ Academy, we will look at the range of environmental events that impact buildings and the variety of issues buildings deal with within any given environment. From louvers that provide for ventilation, light, and design enhancements to modular stair systems and climate-related equity issues across the globe, we will explore the parameters-based building product engineering that solves these building movement issues, all while supporting the desired design aesthetic and building function.

These past few years of the COVID-19 pandemic have indeed tested limitations but have also shed new light on the undeniable importance of creating and maintaining safe, robust, and easy-to-maintain healthcare settings. In addition, there has been a demonstrated transition from facilities with a traditionally spare, institutional feel toward inviting healthcare settings with a focus on comfort and compassion, for patients, visitors and staff alike, providing more of a hospitality feel. Many would argue that the pandemic has potentially accelerated a move that was already in-progress to create healthcare environments that address noise, efficiency of layout, energy savings, beauty and comfort, all in the service of improved occupant health.

With its visual beauty and structural strength, it is no wonder that glass is among the oldest and most versatile building materials, having been used for centuries—with evidence of its use dating back to Roman times. Today, glass plays an important role in design for its ability to provide clear, sustainable solutions in a range of building applications, whether it is making connections between a building and nature or enhancing human comfort and wellness in myriad ways. Plus, with improvements and innovations in glass and glazing technology, glass is frequently at the forefront of dramatic yet functional architectural design. From coatings that offer energy-efficient performance to protective glazing that offers safety and security, glass remains a tried-and-true building material for the ages.

From a new generation of digital tools to harnessing the power of AI to advance the built environment, the architectural field is facing a gravitational shift in the way we approach the business of design and construction. Industry professionals are having to navigate monumental challenges such as labor shortages, the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues, economic instability, privacy concerns, and the climate crisis. At the same time, design professionals have never had so many advanced tools at their disposal, whether cloud-based platforms that facilitate intensive communication and collaboration or sophisticated virtual modeling capabilities and new software for reducing waste and carbon emissions on their projects. The Business and Technology of Architecture Academy highlights trends in architecture, including the increasing use of digital tools and platforms, which are giving firms—large and small—a competitive edge to navigate a complex landscape and increase return on investment.

In today's rapidly changing world, where the fight against climate change has become a global priority, architects are taking center stage in incorporating sustainability principles. The stakes are higher than ever before, and as environmental stewards, the industry is embracing the challenge of designing for a better future. These courses equip you with the knowledge and skills to navigate this volatile landscape, all while staying true to a project's performance, economic viability, and design objectives. We go beyond the basics and delve into the realm of circular design principles, where we explore innovative strategies for minimizing waste and maximizing resource efficiency. We also emphasize the importance of ethically sourced materials, recognizing that sustainability extends beyond energy efficiency. By incorporating responsibly procured materials, you can significantly reduce a project's carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet. Architects and designers have the unique opportunity to lead the way in creating healthier communities. Whether it's implementing pre-engineered solutions to minimize embodied carbon, designing for resilience in the face of climate events, or specifying environmentally friendly materials, this Academy provides you with the necessary tools to drive positive change.

From contemporary aesthetic trends to indoor environments crafted with health, wellness, and comfort in mind, the design of interior spaces often takes into account how a particular setting is experienced by the people who use it. The courses of the Interiors Academy present a comprehensive look at approaches to interiors, with a special emphasis on paint, finishes, and color choices. You will learn about the latest technology around paints and coatings, the state of sustainability in the industry, and review many examples of innovative residential and commercial interiors from around the world.

Academies FAQs

Please click on each question to view answer

  • What is an academy?

    An academy is a collection of editorial-rich courses around a specific area of interest such as: education, multifamily housing, sustainability, acoustics, etc. Academy courses include a variety of course formats including, articles, webinars, multimedia and research reports.

  • What is a digital badge?

    A digital badge is a graphical representation of an accomplishment, skill or interest that can be earned and shared online. Each digital badge contains verified metadata that outlines your achievement and the criteria required to earn the digital badge. This allows colleagues, peers and employers to view and verify accomplishment and skills.

  • How do I earn a digital badge?

    Digital badges are earned by successfully completing all the courses within a specific academy. Once you have successfully completed and passed all the quizzes within an academy, you will then be able to view and download your digital badge from within the “My Academy Progress” page.

  • What are the benefits of a digital badge?

    Digital badges are a great way to showcase your achievement or mastery within a particular field or interest. They can be shared on various social media platforms, email signatures, websites and resumes.

  • How do I share my digital badge?

    You can share your digital badge on social media platforms or embed your badge in a website or resume through the “My Academy Progress” page on the CE Center. Additionally, you can export your badge to other badge-storing platforms, such as Mozilla backpack.

  • Are academies free of charge?

    Yes. Like all the courses on the CE Center, our Academies of Digital Learning are 100% free of charge and accessible 24/7.