Bedrock Learning moves into the custom install sector
By Mike Llewellyn
Incorporated in late 2004, Bedrock Learning is very much a newbie in the custom installation field.
The training company, which focuses on the foundations of residential systems installation, is the product of a collaboration between CEDIA member and home automation industry veteran Helen Heneveld and a veteran from the educational publishing field named Gareth Hancock. Heneveld has been doing installations for 15 years, and is a member of the Consumer Electronics Association's TechHome board, as well as that organization's Education Subcommittee.
Hancock, who has done his time at McGraw-Hill and has focused especially on developing testing material, says the partnership is ideal. "Our partnership makes sense because I understand how to present information in a way that makes sense to a particular audience, and Helen has a tremendous amount of contacts and experience in this field," he says.
Hancock sees Bedrock Learning as a two-sided business.
The first side—what he calls the "scalable" side—is dedicated to online education. "It's an online university concept," he explains. "We offer a list of available courses, and the first one to go live is 'Fundamentals of Structured Wiring.'"
Adhering to a model that the rest of Bedrock's courses will follow, "Fundamentals of Structured Wiring" is a comprehensive and in-depth introduction to the subject. A course package resides online, broken up into units and chapters; videos illustrate particularly challenging techniques.
"The idea is to take a newbie and give them everything they need to do to get set up and understand a topic," says Hancock. "Once someone has finished with one of these courses, they will be more than ready to start training in the field."
Each course takes roughly six to eight hours to complete, depending on a student's level of experience. Upon completion, students receive the course package in book form, a quick-reference guide and a Bedrock Learning certificate of completion.
Hancock says certification is attractive to many companies looking to save on education and training costs. "We've had conversations with manufacturers who say that if someone shows up with our training, they'll let them skip the initial training and move on to something more advanced," he explains.
In addition to the "scalable" side of the business, Bedrock Learning also offers a variety of corporate services. The first is customized curriculum development. One of its first customers was AVAD Distributors.
"We developed their training program for their customers," says Hancock. "We really understood their goals and we built the curriculum accordingly."
Also available from the corporate services side of Bedrock's business is the Learning Management System, or LMS. Large companies often have difficulty keeping tabs on training a large number of employees, many of whom work off-site, explains Hancock. LMS gives a training manager the ability to see at all times where each employee is in the development of his or her training.
With other organizations increasingly focused on education, Bedrock obviously is in for some competition. CEDIA, for instance, has a highly in-depth electronic systems technician course package. But Hancock says Bedrock is filling a niche that has been left open until now.
"CEDIA is certification-driven," he says. "Historically, they've been very A/V-centric. My sense is that they're starting [at a training level] higher than where we are. If you look at training as a pyramid, Bedrock forms the base of that pyramid, and organizations like CEDIA and others are higher up."
To market the young company, Hancock and Heneveld are taking their message of comprehensive, targeted and basic training to all of the major shows, like CEDIA and EH Expo. "Through Helen, we have a lot of ins with manufacturers and associations, and so far, response has been very positive," says Hancock.
Bedrock Learning's courses "are not built in a vacuum," says Hancock. "We are going out into a very competitive market, so we've got a model approach. We go to the absolute top experts in the industry and make sure that each training program gives the students exactly what they need."