How Qpractice's cohort-based courses are giving interior designers the confidence to ace their exams

How Qpractice's cohort-based courses are giving interior designers the confidence to ace their exams

Featured in this Story of Awesome: Qpractice

rocket

Launched 2013

hands

Rolling Members

money-bag

Paid Membership

Qpractice is a paid membership site that gives interior designers the tools and know-how to pass the NCIDQ exam, a certification that’s required for most practicing designers in North America.


The Spark: As she studied for her own NCIDQ exam Lisa found herself frustrated with a lack of study material. After she passed, she knew she wanted to create a program to help her fellow interior designers learn faster and ace their own exams.


Lisa’s Mighty Moment:We wanted to take advantage of the fact that there are so many different designers in here with so many different points of entry. So it’s about taking the experience of people who have been through the process and using their experience to help people who are just starting out.

As a certified interior designer herself, Lisa League knew that acing the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam was no walk in the park.


She was determined to make it easier for her fellow designers to pass.


She had struggled when it came to studying for her own exam. There weren’t many resources—online or otherwise—to help interior designers prepare, and the resources that did exist were frustratingly limited:



“The NCIDQ was providing some online resources, but they were pretty minimal. The only other option was to attend a live workshop in your local area. But you had to have a specific number of people together. And if you didn’t get that number the workshop was canceled. It just wasn’t viable.”



She started by creating a dedicated study group on LinkedIn. But managing her members there was a hassle, so she started her search for a community platform again.


At the same time, Lisa had started taking a software development course with Skillcrush. As she perused the site’s community, which was then run via Mighty Networks, she was impressed with the platform’s features.


She decided then and there that it was the perfect fit for the community that she was trying to build.


With a Mighty Network, Lisa could give interior designers the opportunity to learn from each other. She could provide a space where designers would be able to share their experiences and harness their fellow members’ expertise. And it would be a breeze on a platform that was instantly available on the web and native mobile apps.


Just like that, the Qpractice Study Group was born.


A diversity of designers, a diversity of perspectives


Lisa hit the ground running. She started by sketching out a 10-week plan, then got to work publishing lessons, running practice tests, and creating all of her content “live,” or as she went:



“We started by just providing content for free, with just a few weeks' worth of content ready to publish. After that, we would just publish a group of lessons live, creating it as we went. And that really formed the foundation of the paid content we would later offer.”



At the same time, she worked on bulking up her email list to see what kind of audience she could build up. Fortunately, she already had an idea of what her ideal members looked like.


From the beginning, Lisa knew she wanted to bring in a diverse group: designers who were taking the test for the first time; designers who had passed only one or two of the NCIDQ exam’s three tests; and designers who had taken the test multiple times:



“Because there are multiple ways to meet the criteria and get the questions right, we wanted there to be a way for people to find out that there’s more than one right answer to a question, there’s more than one way to study. You can have 10 different people, and they’ll have 10 different solutions.”



She would also be able to help different kinds of interior designers:



“Interior design has become so highly specialized. There’s hospitality design, commercial office design, people who specialize in healthcare. But when you put all of those people in a group, the collective wisdom is more experience than any one person has.”




As her email list grew, Lisa singled out the people who interacted with her emails the most. From there, she reached out to them and interviewed them about their biggest challenges preparing for the NCIDQ exam. What she heard was enlightening:



“What I heard from people, over and over again, was different from what we had originally planned to provide. Our original plan was to create additional practice tests. But from interviewing people, what we found wasn’t that there was plenty of study material. People just didn’t understand it.”



Based on those interviews with her ideal members, Lisa and her team adjusted their priorities, shifting to make Qpractice a space where interior designers could be taught to learn from their mistakes—both people who had taken the exam and passed, and those who hadn’t:



“We wanted to take advantage of the fact that there are so many different designers in here with so many different points of entry. So it’s about taking the experience of people who have been through the process and using their experience to help people who are just starting out. It’s incredibly valuable.”



With her ideal members in place, Lisa started selling access to her group.


Qpractice study hall is now in session


Today, Qpractice is home to over 700 members. And while the membership inherently ebbs and flows, Lisa finds that a good number of her members come back periodically:



“Depending on the order that each person is taking the exam, they might be in and out in three or four months. But other people take the exams over the course of a few years, and a lot of those people, they might be gone for a bit, but they usually come back.”




To keep things organized, Lisa creates a study schedule at the top of the year, and organizes everything around the NCIDQ exam dates. For the annual exam offered in April, Qpractice’s study hall begins in January. For the annual exam offered in October, it begins in July.


No matter when new members start, Lisa offers bundled monthly subscriptions on the main Qpractice site. When members enroll at the premium level, priced at $149 per month, they get access to the Qpractice Study Group (which lives in Lisa’s Mighty Network), as well as resources and courses which live both in the Mighty Network and the main Qpractice website.


The Study Group offers access to QPractice’s Mighty Network as well as the following:



  • Live workshops


Qpractice hosts three courses that Lisa and her team run as live workshops, both within the Mighty Network and on the main site. Each workshop corresponds to NCIDQ’s exam sections—IDFX, IDPX, and PRAC—with Lisa and her team reviewing the official practice tests from CIDQ; offering question-by-question review, discussion, and answers; and providing test-taking strategies. Each workshop also includes an archive of past live workshops that Lisa makes visible afterwards.



  • Study group discussion


For each lesson within Qpractice’s live workshops, Lisa directs members to a discussion thread within a specific Topic. Each of the Topics in Qpractice corresponds to a module on the exam, like ALL-Programming & Site Analysis and ALL-Designed Environment Codes & Standards.



  • Office hours


Every two weeks, Lisa uses YouTube Live to host an office hour session, where members are encouraged to ask questions and engage directly with her.



  • Answer vault Lisa and her team later repurpose the content from the office hours webinar to create new resources, organized by topic and exam. Members have access to these bite-sized video answers for quick reference.



Lisa also puts a lot of emphasis on participation. She uses icebreaker questions to give new members the opportunity to dive in immediately by sharing which exam they’re studying for, why they’re taking it, and what they’re hoping to get out of the process.


To help her members get the most out of Qpractice for the long run, Lisa encourages them to download the Mighty Networks on their mobile devices and make the study group their go-to social media app:



“I say everyday, ‘Have Qpractice replace your Facebook. Make it your new habit.’ Because even if you have limited time, you can take advantage of 10 minutes in the morning and at lunch to go through short quizzes, ask and answer questions in the group, and then dig in more in the evening or on the weekend.”



A community designed with ongoing support in mind


With Qpractice going on seven years and counting, Lisa’s main observation about the community is that the people who are the most committed to it get the most out of it:



“I’ve seen it since 2013: The people that are regular participants tend to pass. So we really try to get people to participate in the group because there’s so much that can be gained by not only asking questions and having them answered, but by trying to answer other people too.”



With respect to the future, Lisa is exploring ways to keep members engaged even after they pass their exams. She’s planning to add continuing education courses to Qpractice so that members can both share their knowledge with newbies and continue supporting and inspiring each other:



“It’s an amazing feeling when you have a whole community that’s rallying around to support people who didn’t do well, and who can say ‘Hey, you can do it. It took me a couple of tries as well.’ And at its core, that’s so much of what Qpractice is all about.”



3 key takeaways from Qpractice’s Story of Awesome



  1. Get in touch with your ideal members early. By interviewing her ideal members, Lisa was able to shift her offering to be more in line with what they wanted. Interview the people who will get the most out of your community, get to know what they need, then design your solution around that.

  2. Jump right in and run it live. You don’t have to have everything created before you get started. Take Lisa’s lead and create content as you go, adjusting to members’ feedback.

  3. Guide your members where you want them to go. Lisa encourages her members to take advantage of the Mighty Network app and make Qpractice a habit. If you’ve found that your members are more likely to succeed by taking a certain path, help them find their way.

Read More Stories of Awesome

Mind Cake Vault is showing aspiring cake pop connoisseurs just how sweet the treat business can be

Mind Cake Vault is showing aspiring cake pop connoisseurs just how sweet the treat business can be

Introducing the GUILD, a five-figure membership for women entrepreneurs that’s evening the odds

Introducing the GUILD, a five-figure membership for women entrepreneurs that’s evening the odds

How Lenéa Sims launched Outer Work to 500 members in 72 hours

How Lenéa Sims launched Outer Work to 500 members in 72 hours

Delivering a bright, new future for 3,200 birth workers and birthing women

Delivering a bright, new future for 3,200 birth workers and birthing women

How SonoPath Education built a five-figure course membership for veterinarians from scratch

How SonoPath Education built a five-figure course membership for veterinarians from scratch

Tuft stuff: This free community for fiber enthusiasts is teaching over 6,500 members the ins and outs of tufting

Tuft stuff: This free community for fiber enthusiasts is teaching over 6,500 members the ins and outs of tufting

How a platform for creatives, by creatives brought together 1,700+ members around the globe

How a platform for creatives, by creatives brought together 1,700+ members around the globe

How Elizabeth DiAlto built a five-figure membership business teaching women to feel their feels

How Elizabeth DiAlto built a five-figure membership business teaching women to feel their feels

How this community is empowering 1,500 Black parent entrepreneurs to build a lasting legacy for their children

How this community is empowering 1,500 Black parent entrepreneurs to build a lasting legacy for their children

 How The Self Care Space launched their health & wellness brand with Mighty Pro

How The Self Care Space launched their health & wellness brand with Mighty Pro

How two therapists built a community to get at the root of eating disorders

How two therapists built a community to get at the root of eating disorders

How Tara McMullin pioneered virtual conferences and built a flourishing paid membership for small business owners

How Tara McMullin pioneered virtual conferences and built a flourishing paid membership for small business owners

This premium coaching program for therapists went from passion project to 9,000 members strong

This premium coaching program for therapists went from passion project to 9,000 members strong

How Dan Miller’s "48 Days" went from book to podcast to six-figure membership business

How Dan Miller’s "48 Days" went from book to podcast to six-figure membership business

How Martinus Evans' Slow AF Run Club made $140,000 in his first year

How Martinus Evans' Slow AF Run Club made $140,000 in his first year

How a floral designer launched her own $18,000 floral business school

How a floral designer launched her own $18,000 floral business school

Here's how esthetician Christine Byer launched a five-figure beauty membership in two weeks

Here's how esthetician Christine Byer launched a five-figure beauty membership in two weeks

How a healer transformed her spirituality podcast into a five-figure membership and community

How a healer transformed her spirituality podcast into a five-figure membership and community

Here’s how Ashley Fox launched The Wealth Builders Community and generated over $100,000 in her first two weeks

Here’s how Ashley Fox launched The Wealth Builders Community and generated over $100,000 in her first two weeks

Strength in numbers: Here’s how PLANTSTRONG consolidated its offering and built a six-figure community with nearly 20,000 members

Strength in numbers: Here’s how PLANTSTRONG consolidated its offering and built a six-figure community with nearly 20,000 members

LEAVE YOUR MARK community is teaching young professionals how to build their brand and crush their career goals

LEAVE YOUR MARK community is teaching young professionals how to build their brand and crush their career goals

Money, millennial style: How Financial University doubled its members in a year

Money, millennial style: How Financial University doubled its members in a year

From brick and mortar to digital membership: How Topstitch Makers grew a five-figure virtual business in less than a year

From brick and mortar to digital membership: How Topstitch Makers grew a five-figure virtual business in less than a year

In the Cut is demystifying the entertainment industry for over 1,700 Black creatives

In the Cut is demystifying the entertainment industry for over 1,700 Black creatives

Liberated Being brings together spirituality skeptics to learn embodiment practices

Liberated Being brings together spirituality skeptics to learn embodiment practices

How Emily Thompson built a five-figure membership to help creative entrepreneurs make moves

How Emily Thompson built a five-figure membership to help creative entrepreneurs make moves

Nurses Inspire Nurses is providing a safe space for over 1,500 nurses to connect and share their experiences

Nurses Inspire Nurses is providing a safe space for over 1,500 nurses to connect and share their experiences

Meet the social worker who built a five-figure paid membership helping adults with ADHD

Meet the social worker who built a five-figure paid membership helping adults with ADHD

How Qpractice's cohort-based courses are giving interior designers the confidence to ace their exams

How Qpractice's cohort-based courses are giving interior designers the confidence to ace their exams

With Goddess Council, Cat Lantigua is making the real world a little less lonely

With Goddess Council, Cat Lantigua is making the real world a little less lonely

Above and “Beyond”: These two communities are helping over 54,000 people impacted by diabetes to live well, now

Above and “Beyond”: These two communities are helping over 54,000 people impacted by diabetes to live well, now

Sktchy Art School is creating a sanctuary for 18,700 portrait artists

Sktchy Art School is creating a sanctuary for 18,700 portrait artists

This sound engineer created a micro community dedicated to the craft of audio for live events

This sound engineer created a micro community dedicated to the craft of audio for live events

This is Octo Members, a private membership home to over 2,000 UK finance professionals

This is Octo Members, a private membership home to over 2,000 UK finance professionals

How a membership dedicated to women traveling solo found a way to flourish during stay-at-home orders—to the tune of 2,900 members

How a membership dedicated to women traveling solo found a way to flourish during stay-at-home orders—to the tune of 2,900 members

This cartoonist created a five-figure membership site to stop artists from procrastinating

This cartoonist created a five-figure membership site to stop artists from procrastinating

With Youth Ministry Booster, Zac Workun created a five-figure membership to help youth pastors feel less isolated

With Youth Ministry Booster, Zac Workun created a five-figure membership to help youth pastors feel less isolated

How Teach Music Online grew from a $500 course to a five-figure membership business

How Teach Music Online grew from a $500 course to a five-figure membership business

How marketing maven Trish Martin tripled her community in five months

How marketing maven Trish Martin tripled her community in five months

This visual note-taker combined courses and membership for a five-figure business

This visual note-taker combined courses and membership for a five-figure business

No perfect parents: This couple created a membership site for families to build compassionate connections

No perfect parents: This couple created a membership site for families to build compassionate connections

Find your niche: This membership site brings holistic equestrians together

Find your niche: This membership site brings holistic equestrians together

In the Mix: Meet the brother-sister duo creating a flourishing community for over 7,700 artists

In the Mix: Meet the brother-sister duo creating a flourishing community for over 7,700 artists

There’s another path to financial freedom and Wealth Without Wall Street is showing all 4,500 of its members the way

There’s another path to financial freedom and Wealth Without Wall Street is showing all 4,500 of its members the way

The duo behind this paid membership site is guiding over 7,800 passionate dog owners on how to train their pets

The duo behind this paid membership site is guiding over 7,800 passionate dog owners on how to train their pets

This community of womxn visual artists used mastermind groups to build a five-figure business

This community of womxn visual artists used mastermind groups to build a five-figure business

How two creators transformed their community from tech headache to six-figure network

How two creators transformed their community from tech headache to six-figure network

Meet the community that’s making the outdoors fun again for over 2,000 members

Meet the community that’s making the outdoors fun again for over 2,000 members

This psychologist forged connections for 6,500 people in the middle of a pandemic

This psychologist forged connections for 6,500 people in the middle of a pandemic

How Luvvie Ajayi Jones creates an intimate, safe space for over 14K members

How Luvvie Ajayi Jones creates an intimate, safe space for over 14K members

Welcome to the Academy to Innovate HR, a course community home to 7,300 professionals

Welcome to the Academy to Innovate HR, a course community home to 7,300 professionals

Ryder Carroll built a five-figure membership business teaching people about the organizational power of bullet journaling

Ryder Carroll built a five-figure membership business teaching people about the organizational power of bullet journaling

Creating space: The Circle by Black Girl in Om made a five-figure membership centering Black women and holistic living

Creating space: The Circle by Black Girl in Om made a five-figure membership centering Black women and holistic living

The eXd Community is on a mission to help over 900 educators design an equitable new world

The eXd Community is on a mission to help over 900 educators design an equitable new world

This community of legal professionals is showing how anti-racism and technology can change the legal system for good

This community of legal professionals is showing how anti-racism and technology can change the legal system for good

 How a women’s apparel brand built a six-figure membership where runners can get inspired online and IRL

How a women’s apparel brand built a six-figure membership where runners can get inspired online and IRL

How Boston While Black went from hashtag to a five-figure membership business in six months

How Boston While Black went from hashtag to a five-figure membership business in six months

Mighty Networks: where people come for your content, but stay for your community.

Start Your 14-Day Free Trial