Curriculum Planning

In document Chapter 1 Introduction (Page 31-36)

Applied Learning Course Learning Outcomes

Chapter 3 Curriculum Planning

This chapter provides guidelines to help schools and teachers develop a flexible and balanced curriculum that suits the needs, interests and abilities of students, and the context of their school.

3.1 Guiding Principles

Students should be supported to understand the complementary and supplementary nature of Applied Learning, so as to make informed choices in deciding the elective subjects for their senior secondary studies. They need to understand that:

• each Applied Learning course is based on a cluster of trades or industries which reflect the social, economic and technological needs of Hong Kong and global trends, and are close to students’ daily life;

• the T-shaped curriculum of Applied Learning enables students to acquire an overview of the opportunities associated with particular trades and industries so that they can explore possibilities for further studies and careers. At the same time it enables them to pursue in-depth studies in a selected area and to develop transferable skills such as foundation skills, thinking skills, people skills, and values and attitudes; and

• the authentic contexts within the Applied Learning courses complement students’

studies in other subjects, thus contributing to whole person development.

3.2 Connection with Other Senior Secondary Subjects and Learning Experiences

Knowledge in Applied Learning is acquired mainly through hands-on, practical experience. As in other senior secondary subjects the aim is to enable students to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes which are transferable.

Applied Learning courses will be introduced in Secondary 5. In order to provide students with the prior information necessary for choosing a particular combination of elective subjects in their Secondary 5 studies, taster programmes can be introduced in Secondary 4. These will be supplemented with guidance and advice offered through careers talks, structured visits and workplace-related experiences.

The progression of studies at senior secondary level is set out diagrammatically as follows:

Connection with Core Subjects

Applied Learning provides an authentic or near-authentic context for students to acquire the skills of the workplace. It also aims to complement their studies in core subjects in the senior secondary curriculum.

Connection with Languages – Applied Learning provides a language-rich environment for students. Students engage in the learning and use of language in a range of workplace tasks (e.g. handling telephone enquiries and the complaints of customers in courses related to hospitality services, or writing reports in business courses), and they use language to communicate with others about work-related matters. In courses such as media and communication, students use languages for a wide range of purposes, involving different contexts and audiences, and learn to understand what functions language fulfils in work-related contexts. They can then apply this understanding to the use of language in their daily life.

Connection with Mathematics – The different areas of studies of Applied Learning also provide real-life situations for students to apply the concepts and knowledge they acquire in Mathematics. For example, in courses related to accounting and finance, students need to interpret algebraic relations from numerical, symbolic and graphical

Progression of Studies at Senior Secondary Level

( ) optional

* including Applied Learning courses X = Elective Subject

Secondary 6 X1* X2* (X3)*

X1* X2* (X3)*

X1 X2 (X3) (X4)

Elective Subjects Chinese Language,

English Language, Mathematics, Liberal Studies

Chinese Language, English Language,

Mathematics, Liberal Studies

Chinese Language, English Language,

Mathematics, Liberal Studies

Core Subjects Other Learning


Secondary 5

Secondary 4

data. In courses related to design, engineering and production, students make use of their knowledge of measures, shape and space to formulate and solve two-dimensional and three-dimensional problems. In conducting research in courses such as retail and merchandising, students need to handle data and apply knowledge in statistics to identify central tendencies and dispersion.

Connection with Liberal Studies – The concepts, knowledge and skills students acquire in different areas of studies of Applied Learning also facilitate students’

learning in Liberal Studies. For example, in courses related to health care, students need to understand the importance of personal hygiene in public health. In marketing, students learn how to set up and execute a marketing plan for a specific international market. This complements their studies in globalisation. In all Applied Learning courses students learn about planning, leadership and time management, which are indispensable for the independent enquiry study.

Further suggestions on how Applied Learning can contribute to the study of the core and elective subjects are set out in Appendix 1.

Useful Combinations of Applied Learning and Elective Subjects

The study of Applied Learning complements other senior secondary subjects by offering studies with stronger elements of practical learning linked to broad professional and vocational fields. Choosing a sound combination of Applied Learning and elective subjects enhances student learning and lateral coherence within the senior secondary curriculum.

While the core and elective subjects offer learning and thinking tools, Applied Learning contributes to them by:

a. enhancing and enriching subject knowledge:

e.g. students taking Business, Accounting and Financial Studies may take related Applied Learning courses such as accountancy, financial management and marketing to enhance the breadth and depth of studies in these fields;

b. generating cross-fertilisation:

e.g. students taking Physics may benefit through studying civil and mechanical engineering, as these Applied Learning courses share common concepts and processes such as force and motion, electricity and magnetism, and conservation of energy. This helps students consolidate learning across both subjects;

c. expanding students’ horizons:

e.g. students taking Science or Arts subjects may take an Applied Learning course such as performing arts, financial management, food and catering or personal services to broaden their horizons and enhance their all-round development; and

d. consolidating and synergising students’ studies:

e.g. Applied Learning courses provide a multi-disciplinary context and an encouraging learning environment for students to reflect on their learning across the curriculum, so that they develop generic knowledge and skills which they can apply in solving problems such as global warming, food safety, selection of programmes for further studies, national identity. Some students, with the support of their tutors, may even be able to take their learning beyond the level of information, knowledge and skill development to the level of conceptualisation and meta-understanding.

The elective subjects and Applied Learning courses are also complementary to each other, e.g. Visual Arts is related to design studies in Creative Studies; Integrated Science is related to health care in Applied Science. A list of examples of the combinations of Applied Learning and other elective subjects is given in Appendix 2.

3.3 Connection with Basic Education and Career Pathways

Students acquire the essential skill of learning to learn from the eight Key Learning Areas of Basic Education, and at the same time develop curiosity and interests in a wide range of subjects. They may, for example, become interested in Chinese and Western approaches to medical care, or the application of scientific knowledge to sports and fitness. Other students may want to further explore their talents in design, or develop their skills in dance, etc. Applied Learning provides a means for students to meet this curiosity and realise their aspirations under the umbrella of formal education and the acquisition of recognised qualifications.

Provision for articulation pathways for further studies and/or career development is a critical design principle of Applied Learning and this has been substantially developed during piloting (Please refer to Chapter 2). Related information on the articulation pathways of individual courses can be found at the website of Applied Learning (

The interface of Applied Learning with Basic Education Key Learning Areas and with senior secondary core/elective subjects is set out diagrammatically as follows:

Liberal Studies + elective subjects (including Applied Learning)

Chinese Language Education

Chinese Language Education

Chinese Language Education

English Language Education

Mathematics Education

Liberal Studies + elective subjects + taster programmes

English Language Education

Mathematics Education

Secondary 5 – 6

Secondary 4

Primary 1 to Secondary 3

English Language Education

Mathematics Education

Personal, Social and Humanities


Science Education

Technology Education

Arts Education

Physical Education

Theoretical Learning

Applied Learning

Interface of Applied Learning with Basic Education Key Learning Areas and Senior Secondary Core/Elective Subjects

Moral and Civic Education

Intellectual Development

Community Service

Physical & Aesthetic

Development Career-related Experiences

Generic Skills

Generic Skills Generic Skills

Values and Attitudes

Values and Attitudes

Values and Attitudes Built on foundation knowledge

of core / elective subjects

Foundation knowledge of core / elective subjects

Firm foundation for Senior Secondary 4 core subjects,

20 elective subjects and Applied Learning

In document Chapter 1 Introduction (Page 31-36)