Is bite-sized learning the way forward?

Bite-sized learning brings a positive learning experience for employees.

Learning & Development professionals are recognising the hurdles learners face in balancing learning in conjunction with other responsibilities at work.

We’re living in a fast-paced world full of distractions, and so learners are being encouraged to embed learning within the demands of everyday life.

Bite-sized learning fits perfectly into this learning strategy.

The way we learn is changing fast; from hours and days of textbook and classroom learning filled with varying topics, to engaging in short bursts of focused videos, exercises and quizzes designed to improve a learners’ knowledge and skills.

“In a virtual learning environment, long learning sessions can cause fatigue, loss of motivation and can impact a learner’s ability to retain information. The expectation that learners can sustain the same level of engagement and attention for the same time span as in a live classroom, is unrealistic. This is why we looked at all our programmes, reduced the length of trainer-led instruction sessions and increased activities and participation. We moved to bite-sized learning.”
Jason Scott, Head of Financial Training, APAC

Be it in the classroom or virtual, learners can be immersed in a better learning experience. (Some of this research is outlined in our Overcoming Barriers report).

The overall learning experience through bite-sized learning continues to grow, generating a shift in L&D professionals moving towards bite-sized learning.

Why is e-learning so popular?

What is bite-sized learning?

Bite-sized learning consists of short, focused activities with the aim to engage learners’ knowledge and skills. Learners are more motivated to consume shorter content, drawing out boredom and ‘switching off’, increasing overall learner engagement. Some of these information nuggets can be consumed and digested anywhere, resulting in a more positive and stress-free learning experience.

Learning needs to happen everywhere, not just in a classroom.

In this forever adapting age of technology, we can give learners access to interactive learning sources that are immersive, engaging, focused, and, more importantly, adapted to their learning ability.

As human beings we gain snippets of knowledge throughout the day, through browsing social media, watching videos, reading blogs and undertaking activities. We turn to our phones, open up browsers on our laptops, or search the web from our televisions to access information quickly. We’ve got the apps and gadgets to receive real-time updates about the world around us and the things we enjoy most.

At work, we thrive in a busy, fast-paced environment where time is of the essence and easy access to information is vital.

Learning is not any different. Learners want accessible, meaningful learning videos, short quizzes and snippets of information that allow for learning to be embedded into their lifestyle.

Bite-sized e-learning modules

Bite-sized e-learning modules and activities are becoming more convenient for businesses and learners alike as Learning and Talent Development professionals begin to include e-learning as part of their employee development strategies.

There are, of course, some questions that L&D professionals consider before embedding e-learning programmes as part of their development strategy. What happens if a learner has a question? Who do they go to? What if they want to discuss modules and exercises with their peers? How do they know how to apply what they’ve learnt into their roles? What if they aren’t motivated enough?

Let us help…


What happens if a learner has a question?

There are some e-learning portals out there that provide learners with continuous support. Alpha Ability, for example, is our e-learning platform and offers various learning-aid tools, such as ‘Ask an Expert’, where learners can submit questions to our expert trainers.


What if they want to discuss modules and exercises with their peers?

Some platforms enable learners to comment on and discuss modules and exercises. Our e-learning platform goes further with a discussion forum that encourages peer collaboration through activities and tools that support group thinking and learning.


How do they know how to apply what they’ve learnt into their roles?

Some bite-sized learning solutions, like Alpha Ability, are focused on real-world events with real-world scenarios that enable the learner to understand how their learning can be used within their roles and how to apply their new knowledge to do their role well.


What if they aren’t motivated enough?

E-learning videos, exercises and quizzes should be designed to engage learners. Modules can be accessed anywhere, anytime, in any way.  If they want to be immersed into a 1 minute video or take part in a few quizzes, that’s up to the learner. And, of course, the benefit of our ‘Ask the Expert’ tool allows for the learner to tackle any questions that may act as a learning barrier.

If that’s not motivating enough, our learners can leverage from digital credentials through a digital badge that stays with the employee throughout their career. It works as a means of a certificate or proof of qualification, completion or competence within specific areas.

Discover more

If you have a question relating to our e-learning modules or want to read more about Alpha Ability, click here.

Embedding a culture of learning as part of your internal values supports employee growth and retention whilst strengthening your competitive edge.


It’s become almost essential for organisations to embed learning as part of their culture as technological advances, governance, and the impacts of the pandemic unleashing workforce potential continue to change the way we work.

At the heart of strong, business health is the ability to attract and retain good employees, and it’s clear that employees want to learn.  Ongoing research has shown that access to development opportunities and job-related training heavily influences employees’ decisions to stay in their role.

According to The 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey, 41% of business executives will be building workforce capability through upskilling, reskilling, and mobility, as the need for learning and development strengthens.

Although the need to embed a culture of learning and development into the workforce is recognised, a development gap remains.

Barriers to development

According to our recent Overcoming Barriers to Shape Graduate Attraction & Retention report, the purpose and impact of learning may not always filter down to direct leaders and managers, resulting in a negative learning experience and overall employee development.

“Graduates need to do all these tasks. Development becomes secondary animation, and on-the-job experience is considered ‘more important and more critical’ to performance,” says one L&D professional from one of Asia’s biggest banks.

The need for employee development is evident as businesses evolve and adapt to a changing new era, but how do we create a learning culture throughout the organisation?

Here are 5 steps to embed a learning culture in the workplace.

5 steps to embed a learning culture in the workplace


1: Executive Learning

Top-level executives engaging in learning programmes can bring the values to life, encouraging others to do the same.

2: Personalised Learning

If the training or development programme is relevant to the employee’s goals and supports their career progression, they’ll be more likely to learn and engage. It’s important to map out their learning needs and understand what training can help them in their roles.

3: Accessible Learning

Building learning into a way of life is essential to embed learning into the workforce. Allowing employees to access modules or training programmes through their phones and tablets or even on social media enables employees to learn when and where they want.

4: Hiring Learners

As the working world continues to evolve, the skill and experience of employees do too. Behaviours like problem solving, empathy and adaptability are essential to embedding a thriving learning culture. For example, a candidate who has shown they can adapt to change and are open to learning may be vital to a business’s future compared to one who may not be willing to upskill and learn despite having 20 years of experience.

5: Encouraging Others

A culture of learning includes all employees across the business. Welcome those who have completed their programme to share their knowledge and skill so others can identify the dedication to a shift in culture. Celebrate those who have and are learning.

Personalised learning

Our e-learning platform provides employees with an effective learning experience with adaptable learning that’s personalised to their ability and areas of development. Learners are motivated with engaging, real-world, bite-sized content that can be accessed across a range of platforms. Find out more to see how Alpha Ability+ can support your employee development strategy.

By Warwick Farrer, Associate Senior Consultant at Alpha Development

How are we preparing ourselves, our colleagues, and wider organisations for the return to the office?


Successful organisations pride themselves on having diverse workforces and an inclusive environment based on communication and understanding.

My son recently went back to school. The schools’ inclusion team sent around numerous communications and support exercises like colouring-in sheets to help us have better conversations about his feelings towards returning to school.

I wonder, are we doing the same back at work? Are we mindful of this turbulence in our new working paradigm? Not everybody will want to go back to the office, and not everybody will want to work remotely.


Supporting employees during a new onboarding process

Regardless of a possible hybrid way of working becoming the new normal, there will be things that employees may look forward to and things that they may not for numerous, varied and very personal reasons. My diet, perhaps like many others, has been suspended during the lockdown.

Many factors may affect the well-being of your colleagues. Whilst some await the chance to catch up in the pantry over a coffee, have face-to-face conversations, and pop out to their favourite lunch spot, others might be fearful of how expensive these lunches can be.

They might be dreading the proposition of returning to the office. Those with children may need to reorganise childcare arrangements. Some may be concerned about health risks if we have to mingle with others in an enclosed space. And then there’s the time spent commuting.

Preparing for hybrid working


These factors introduce an increased acceptance of hybrid working. With hybrid working comes more questions; how will managers lead their team through these challenges long term? What new processes will leaders need to establish to make this a success? What support will team members need to adapt to these changes? And how do we protect the psychological safety of our team members regardless of whether they are working from home, from the office or both?

I remember my manager once took the team to a local park for a meeting. She announced we would be moving from our old provincial office into the new headquarters in the City Centre. Upon hearing the news, one colleague ran around the park, her arms outstretched like someone winning a race, high pitch screams of jubilance sending pigeons aloft in fear of their life. It was only at the end of her lap of honour did she realise the rest of the team were crestfallen. For most of us, it was an increased commute. For my direct report, he instantly confided in me that he would have to start looking for a new job.

Successful organisations pride themselves on having diverse workforces and an inclusive environment based on communication and understanding. Let’s prepare for the return to work by taking care of ourselves and each other.

Warwick Farrer is an Associate Senior Consultant at Alpha Development, amassing over 15 years of Leadership, Learning, OD and Change Management, predominantly in the financial services sector across EMEA and APAC. ​Warwick’s speciality includes leadership and management development for first-line and middle managers.

His energetic, curious nature engages and challenges learners to stretch themselves and ultimately drive business results.

Leadership & Management

Find out more about our leadership & management training options

Businesses can use the Apprenticeship Levy to support a motivated workforce by upskilling and reskilling employees and closing skills gaps to enhance knowledge and productivity.

In this blog, we answer some of the key questions about the Apprenticeship Levy and how it can be accessed.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy is paid by employers with a wage bill of over £3 million, and goes towards the funding of Apprenticeships in England.

It’s like a tax that employers cannot opt out of, however they do have an option to use it.

How can I use the levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy can solely be used towards the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment by an approved training provider, like Alpha Development. Apprentices can be new or existing employees, and there is no maximum age limit for someone to be part of an apprenticeship programme.

The levy can support businesses in closing skills gaps by upskilling and reskilling current employees whilst introducing new team members. You can find out more by registering to attend our Maximising Your Apprenticeship Levy Webinar.

How can I access the funding?

There are two ways that businesses can access the funding; either through the Apprenticeship Levy, or by claiming back 95% of the cost through government funding. For businesses who pay the levy, the money is held in a Digital Apprenticeship Service account which can be used to fund the cost of training and developing apprentices.

For businesses that don’t pay the levy, the government will ‘co-invest’ in Apprenticeship training, so the business will make a 5% contribution to the cost of the training and the rest will be paid via co-investment.

For more advice on how to access your funds, contact us at [email protected]

What if I don’t spend all of my levy?

Unused funds will expire after 24 months. Last year, £330 million of the levy went unspent (you can read more about this in our article: Could HR Professionals be Missing out on Training Funds?).

How can Alpha Development help?

We work directly with businesses and organisations to deliver tailored apprenticeship programmes that are designed for the financial, professional and insurance sectors.

Before any training takes place, we will work with you to identify your business goals and values, and create an apprenticeship strategy that supports these.

You can find out more about our apprenticeship programme, AlphaQ, here: Apprenticeship training solutions, or arrange call with one of our apprenticeship experts by emailing [email protected]

Maximising Your Apprenticeship Levy Fund (Webinar)

Register to attend our free webinar to find out how you can use the levy to work for you.

Banks need generalists “instead of really specialist people,” our recent report reveals.

As technical skills remain the preferred skill by management, L&D and Talent professionals across some of the biggest banks in the APAC region have shone light onto the importance of professional development for graduates and interns.

With a variety of factors evolving the way we work, (like enhanced technology and, of course, the pandemic) there is a strong desire amongst L&D professionals to provide Early Career employees with more professional skills training.

“Those who work with the graduates want them to know all the technical skills so they can be desk ready,” said one talent professional at an Alpha Development workshop.

“Feedback from rotation managers is that [graduate] professional skills are lacking,” said another.

David Chia, Head of Sales, APAC says, “there is an opportunity for banks and institutions to grow their graduates and interns through professional skills like problem solving and team-working, especially during these changing times where they would need them most. Whilst technical skills are important to do the role, it’s the professional skills that encourage graduates to own their role and their learning too.”

The report, Overcoming Barriers to Shape Graduate Attraction & Retention, APAC 2021, focuses on some of the key challenges faced by L&D professionals across some of the biggest banks across the APAC region.

Download the report to discover more.

ESG has been an important investment approach for some time in the asset management world.

The enhanced status of ESG as a strategic priority within banking, insurance and other wider financial sectors has accelerated since 2020. This is partly due to different regional social change issues driving governance reform, like BLM, or Emiratisation in UAE, and partly riding the positive wave of post-Covid social cohesion.

Millennials expect to inherit $80 trillion in the next two decades[1] due to the shifts in demographic wealth making them the richest generation ever. 87% of millennials and 64% of women say that ESG plays an important role in their investment decisions,[2] driving businesses further to move towards integrating ESG.

Nora Nagi, Account Director at Alpha Development says, “with ESG being at the forefront of decision-making, businesses are understanding the importance of sustainability training to ensure ESG thinking is embedded across all investment settings.”

“Clients are increasingly focused on the accountability of L&D to raise their ESG profile and knowledge. ESG has broadened from its origins in institutional buyside and is no longer the domain of specialists. Employers are launching ESG academies to bring the mindset into the mainstream, and we’re able to support them in doing that.” – Nora Nagi.

High demand for ESG expertise

The demand for ESG expertise is growing fast as more investment organisations move towards an ESG friendlier approach.

One-third of investment organisations have ESG specialists as part of their teams, and a third have portfolio managers conducting ESG analysis, according to a study by CFS Institute.[3]

Professional investment roles being advertised on LinkedIn are also promoting a ‘very high’ demand for sustainability-related skills as investment professionals jump on the road to improved sustainability.

However, more than half of respondents in the study by CFS Institute, said their firms do not provide ESG training despite only 11% of professionals considering themselves proficient in sustainability. Over 70% of respondents said they have an interest in upskilling in the area.

The report states that embedding sustainability as part of a businesses objectives adds a sense of purpose and acts as a motivational factor, and “given the demand for ESG talent, it can be difficult to retain these employees. Because they tend to be people who want to make a difference.”

Let's make a difference

Discover how we can develop your employees with the knowledge, skills and applications aligned to the factors that impact investment.

[1] Savita Subramanian, Head of global ESG research, Bank of America (Source CNBC: The Rise of Investing 2020)
[2] Bank of America U.S. Trust Wealthy and Worth Survey 2018
[3] Future of Sustainability in Investment Management

“The rise in women is not about the fall in men. It’s important to surround ourselves with supportive and like-minded groups that can help challenge and change the way we live and work for the better. International Women’s Day reminds us to keep moving forward together with these positive changes.” – Katie Verdicchio, Chief Operating Officer.

37% of the Fortune 500 companies are led by female CEOs – a record high from previous years

Women earned roughly 19% less than men in 2020 – a 2% improvement from 2019, and a 7% improvement from 2015 (

46% of interns/graduates who attended our training programmes last year were female

In the cause of gender equality, the Alpha team came together on International Women’s Day to discuss the importance of gender equality and what it means for them.

“Empowerment. Courage. Tenaciousness. We need to do more for all women. Particularly for those who are less privileged and not recognised within a professional setting.” Simon Matin, Programme Manager

“I choose to challenge my daughters to be less Red Riding Hood and more Wolf. I choose to challenge the women around me to embrace failure and use it to empower themselves.” Hector Payne, Chief Learning Officer

What is Alpha Development doing to support equality?


“We hire people based on their ability to do their role regardless of their gender or ethnicity. The policies and practices we have in place offer opportunity from the outset, through our flexible working which opens the door for all candidates.” – Rebecca Gosling, HR Manager.

“International Women’s Day is an inspirational day for Alpha,” adds Rebecca.

“I choose to challenge all of us, men and women, to work more “like a woman”. My reading for this week looks very sensibly at how we should continue to shape the world of work to be much more effective for everyone – and much happier.” Matt Wall, Global Commercial Director

“We use this day to open conversations, celebrate women’s success and turn to the future of what we would like tomorrow to look like. So much positive progress has been made towards equality, however so much more can be done to break down gender biases, stereotyping and shining the light on inequalities,” says Rebecca.

Priscilla Chua, Account Director, APAC

The importance of creating a sense of belonging and purpose is a fulcrum to the younger generation of employees.

Money and career progression are not the only factors in sustainable employment and retention. Mental health, inclusion, and a sense of purpose encourages loyalty and drives employees to excel and ‘fall in love’ with not only what they do, but who they do it for.

Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity are words that have been on the minds of HR and L&D professionals for years. As we begin to consider new ways of working, and a new onboarding process that we’ve never experienced before, the importance of supporting employees in a post-lockdown VUCA environment has never been so crucial.

Whether they’ll be hybrid working, transitioning from home to the office, or working in an office for the first time, there’s no doubt that many will need support.

That’s where we can help.

Building an agile workforce supports employee success from the beginning and aids in creating that belonging and purpose for sustainable employment.

Your employees can get the support they need to thrive and excel through expert training.

Our human-centred skills training enables your employees to manage themselves better in this uncertain environment. The training supports improved interactions that allow your employees to work better with colleagues through communication, respect and personal management.

Expert training within the technical skills space, i.e. future skills – data literacy, technology, etc. is also vital to support employees in understanding the financial industry’s changing landscape.

We understand the importance of creating a sense of belonging and purpose for your employees. That’s why our clients trust us in providing a positive learning experience that enables learners to love what they do and who they do it for.

Find out more

Take a look at our range of communication and talent development training and discover how our team of experts can support your employees in adapting to the new post-lockdown environment.

Boost your knowledge of apprenticeships and understand the significance an apprentice could have for your firm.

Simply hover over the cards below to find your answers. True or false…

Apprentices help develop and improve future skills in the business


86% of employers have developed or improved future skills in the business because of hiring apprentices, according to the March 2020, Apprenticeships Evaluation 2018-19: Employers research report by IFF

Employers have seen improvements in the services offered through the support of apprentices


In fact, 74% of employers have seen improvements in the goods and services offered through the support of apprentices, according to

Apprentices have helped employers improve productivity by nearly 80%


According to 78% of employers have said that apprentices helped them improve productivity

There are no age limits to be an apprentice


Anyone over 16 can benefit from being an apprentice. They are accessible to those living in England from all backgrounds


Existing employees can’t sign up to do an apprenticeship


Businesses can use the apprenticeship levy to upskill and retrain existing employees to help fill skill gaps and boost employee motivation

8 out of 10 employers would recommend apprenticeships


83% of employers would recommend apprenticeships to others according to the March 2020, Apprenticeships Evaluation 2018-19: Employers research report by IFF

20% of an apprentices working hours are spent on training


This is known as off-the-job training, where the apprentice learns outside of his or her day-to-day work duties. This gives the apprentice time to focus and develop the skills required to carry out their role

£330m of the apprenticeship levy funding went unspent last year


HR and L&D professionals could be missing out on the chance to retrain and upskill their staff.

Want to know more?

Join our live webinar: Maximising your apprenticeship levy fund to see how you can get the most from your apprenticeship levy fund, or visit our Apprenticeship page to find out how we can support your firm.

Alternatively, discuss your apprenticeship requirements with our team of experts and see how we can support your employee and apprentice development by filling out the form below.

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