Welcome to the Dept. of Entertainment Design & Technology An innovative programme in design and technology for the live entertainment industry.
Entertainment Design & Technology.

The Department of Entertainment Design & Technology offers a challenging, professionally oriented curriculum and production related training programme in the area of Lighting, and Sound Design; Music Recording, and Technical Direction for Theatre, Dance, Film/Video, Music and the Performing and Entertainment Arts.

This programme provides students with the training necessary to compete with international designers, managers and technicians by combining the best of American and British training philosophies with Asian culture, heritage and entertainment traditions.

A student who has the foresight to take full advantage of and successfully completes this training programme will have an excellent opportunity to develop into a successful and leading international practitioner in theatre and the entertainment arts in general.

The Mission of the EDT Department states:

  • The pursuit of excellence in education and training for those people whose vocation is to work in the technical design areas of professional theatre and related industries and to create significant opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to fulfil their potential and develop and enrich their quality of life through the practice of theatre, dramatic arts and the live entertainment industry;
  • To achieve an educational environment which supports outstanding practice-based research, continuing professional development and innovative approaches to the design and the implementation of the design within a liberal arts context;
  • To create a culture which fosters collaboration, innovation, personal motivation and reflection, mutual tolerance and respect, professional integrity, a lateral approach to problem solving, the development of analytical minds and the practice of continual learning
  • To implement a curriculum which aims at the highest standards of design and performance skill and at the development of individual autonomy, curiosity, leadership, flexibility and risk-taking through imaginative forms of teaching and learning;
  • To nurture creativity and collaboration while providing practical skills through coursework and production within a local, cultural context and International globalised context, whilst also providing a platform for Chinese traditional arts;
  • To establish an international reputation for offering world-class education programs and to form significant local, national and international partnerships and collaborations with professional and artistic organisations and educational and community groups;
  • To select students solely on the strength of their talent, potential, individuality and suitability to be trained;
  • To foster academic excellence, promote superior teaching and personalized student mentoring by our entire faculty and staff.
The APA Credit Unit System.
  • A study programme at the Academy, such as the 4 yr BFA Degree programme, consists of a number of courses, with each course being allocated a credit value.
  • The credit value reflects the study load expected of a student to achieve the course learning outcomes.
  • Each credit represents three hours of expected study load per week over the 14 weeks of the semester.
  • Therefore 1 credit is equivalent to a total of 42 hours. (3 hours a week x 14 weeks = 42 hours)
  • So a 2 credit course is equivalent to 84 hours. (6 hours a week x 14 weeks = 84 hours)
The following are minimum credits a student must attain for the various programmes of study:
Programme Minimum No. of Credits Expected Study Load Hours
3-Yr BFA Degree 108 Credits 4,536 Hours
4-Yr BFA Degree 130 Credits 5,460 Hours
Vocational Programme 40 Credits 1,680 Hours
MFA Programme 60 Credits 2,520 Hours
  • A Credit is equivalent to the amount of time a student spents in learning activities required to achieve course learning outcomes, and is made up of the class contact hours and the student work hours outside of the class.
  • A course is allocated a different Credit Allocation Type (CAT) depending on the requirment of the course and the ratio of class contact hours and student work hours outside of the class.
The following are minimum credits a student must attain for the various programmes of study:
CAT Class Contact Hours / week Student Work Hours / week Application
3 hours Less than 1 hour This model is used for courses in which the majority of work is carried out under staff instruction or supervision in a studio, laboratory or workshop setting. Minimal student work outside the contact hours is expected.
2 hours 1 hour This model is used for courses that adopt one or more learning and teaching activities, e.g. lectures, demonstrations, practical work in a studio, laboratory or workshop setting. Normally, for every two contact hours, students should expect to work a minimum of one hour per week outside the contact hours.
1 hour 2 hours This model is used for lecture - and seminar - based courses, which include demonstrations, discussions and student presentations. For every contact hour, students should expect to work a minimum of two hours per week outside the contact hour.
3 hours This model is used for projects that may lead to a thesis, a performance or a production, and Music Major Study. Students should expect to work a minimum of three hours per week, e.g. preparation, research, design, rehearsal, practical work, thesis writing, music practice, etc., that normally includes an appropriate combination of discussion and presentation and/or supervision/instruction.
  • The majority of classes in the EDT curriculum (though not all) are CAT 3. They are also normally allocated as 2 credit courses.
  • This means that a 2 Credit course that is CAT 3 has 2 hours of class time and 4 hours of Student Work Time per week. This gives a total of 6 hours a week and 84 hours over the semester. (6 x 14 = 84)
  • The average number of credits for 1 year is 36. 36 x 42 = 1512 hours over the year. Or 756 hours per semester. This is equivalent to around 47 hours per week.
  • Studying at the APA is a FULL TIME “JOB” and not something that can be thought of as a part time course!!.
Assessment Methodology.

The EDT Department endevers to apply SOLO Taxonomy when assessing students learning and understanding of the Learning Ooutcomes of a course. So what is SOLO Taxonomy?

This method of asessment describes the level of increasing complexity in a student's understanding of a subject, through five stages, and it is claimed to be applicable to any subject area. Not all students get through all five stages, of course, and indeed not all teaching (and even less "training") is designed to take them all the way.


the students is simply acquiring bits of unconnected information, which have no organisation and make no sense.


The student makes simple and obvious connections, but their significance is not grasped.


The student makes a number of connections, but the meta-connections between them are missed, as is their significance for the whole.


The student is now able to appreciate the significance of the parts in relation to the whole.

Extended Abstract

The student is making connections not only within the given subject area, but also beyond it, able to generalise and transfer the principles and ideas underlying the specific instance.

This video explains it quite well.

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Learning to learn.

The teaching and learning methodology at the Academy relies much more on you and your willingness to learn. It is your responsibility to learn for yourself rather than the responsibility of the teachers to ensure that you have learnt.
The result of this is that formal classes, projects and Academy productions create the opportunity and environment for you to learn. But ultimately it is up to you to take ownership of, and responsibility for, your own learning.

This can mean that the first thing you, as a student, has to do when arriving at the Academy is to learn how to learn. People learn in different ways and it is your responsibility to discover how you learn best. The article below identifies the ways that people learn. Read through it and see if you can identify the best way that you learn.

"Once neighbour began meeting neighbour, they learned that many answers to their questions were available right there in Ozone. They didn't need experts. They just needed to start talking to each other”

Why bother?

The fact that you are reading this guide shows that you are already pretty good at learning. You have obviously learned to read. During your life you have learnt all manner of things, including expertise in a particular field which brings you to this course.

But did you ever learn how to learn? Did you need to? If not, why should you bother now? And what exactly do we mean by Learning to Learn anyway?

Traditionally, many educators have considered learning to be an individual responsibility, with students accepting the burden of acquiring knowledge and expertise. Recently, the notion of collaborative learning has been strengthened, from a number of sources. These include through communicating with other students and tutors across a network in the domain of distance learning. Digital communications networks such as the Internet (Vetter 1995; Macedonia 1994), or the use of E-mail facilities, have become the new medium in which group learning is anticipated to take place, and many large businesses have already built internal group learning systems using Internet (Andersson 1997). In his book Helping Adults to Learn to Learn, Robert M. Smith describes it as:

''...possessing or acquiring the knowledge and skill to learn effectively in whatever learning situation one encounters''.

What do we mean by learning?

You probably know exactly what is meant by learning. It is, nevertheless, still worth defining it in the present context. Surprisingly little is known about how people actually learn, though there are a number of theories; so it is perhaps easiest to define learning ''after the event'' by asking how you know whether or not learning has, in fact, taken place. You know that learning has taken place, when you know something which you did not know before and can show it and/or you are able to do something which you were not able to do before. You will notice that in both cases you are required to offer proof. Thinking that you know something or can do something is not enough; you must be able to show that you know it or are able to do it. In the same way, it is not sufficient to know the theory; you have to be able to prove that you know it by your actions. This ties in directly with Action Learning, where you are required to apply theory and concept to real situations.

The Learning Cycle

There are several schools of thought and theoretical models of how people learn. One of the most useful for adult learning has proved to be that initially developed by David Kolb. In it learning is presented as a cycle.

Peter Honey and Alan Mumford subsequently adapted Kolb's original cycle to:

And, expressed in this way, you can see very clearly how this also ties in with the sequence employed in Action Learning. Although, hypothetically, a learner would consciously move through every stage in the cycle in every learning situation, practical experience and research show that not all learners are equally at home at all stages of the cycle. Many show marked preferences for one or more of the stages and sometimes positive dislike of one of the others. And there is no evidence to show that such preferences make them better or worse than one another.

Honey and Mumford have identified four different preferences, or ways in which people prefer to learn, each related to a different stage of the learning cycle. These preferred ''learning styles'' they call Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist. Some people are happiest operating in just one mode, others in two or even three. Perhaps not surprisingly, people's learning style tends to reflect their work style... or vice versa.

Preferred styles of learning.

Activists involve themselves fully and without bias in new experiences. They enjoy the here and now and are happy to be dominated by immediate experiences. They are open-ended not sceptical and this tends to make them enthusiastic about anything new. Their philosophy is ''I will try anything once''. Their days are filled with activity. They tackle problems by brainstorming. As soon as the excitement from one activity has died down, they are busy looking for the next. They tend to thrive on the challenge of new experiences but are bored with implementation and longer-term consolidation. They are gregarious people, constantly involving themselves with others but, in doing so, they seek to make themselves the centre of all activities. Activists learn best from novel experiences, from being encouraged to ''have a go'' and from being thrown into things. They enjoy relatively short ''here and now'' learning activities like business games and competitive team exercises. Activists learn least well from passive situations like reading, watching or listening to lectures, particularly those on concept or theory. They do not enjoy solitary work, repetitive tasks, situations which require detailed preparation, or being asked to review their learning opportunities and achievements.


Reflectors like to stand back to ponder experiences and observe them from many different perspectives. They collect data, both first-hand and from others, and prefer to analyse them thoroughly and think about them from every possible angle before coming to any definite conclusions. These they postpone as long as possible. Their philosophy is to be cautious. They enjoy watching other people in action and prefer to take a back seat in meetings and discussions. They think before they speak. They tend to adopt a low profile and have a slightly distant, tolerant, unruffled air about them. When they act, it is part of a wide picture, which includes the past as well as the present and others' observations as well as their own. Reflectors learn best from activities where they are able to stand back, listen and observe. They like to have a chance to collect information and be given time to think about it before commenting or acting. They like to review what has happened. Reflectors learn least well when they are rushed into things with insufficient data or without time to plan, when they are forced into the limelight by being required to role-play or chair a meeting, or when asked to take short-cuts or do a superficial job.


Theorists like to analyse and synthesise. They assimilate and convert disparate facts and observations into coherent, logical theories. Their philosophy prizes rationality and logic above all. They think problems through in a vertical, step-by-step, logical way. They tend to be perfectionists who will not rest easy until things are tidy and fit into a rational scheme. They are keen on basic assumptions, principles, theories, models and systems thinking. They tend to be detached, analytical and dedicated to rational objectivity. They feel uncomfortable with subjective judgements, ambiguity, lateral thinking and anything flippant. Theorists learn best when they are offered a system, model, concept or theory, even when the application is not clear and the ideas may be distant from current reality. They like to work in structured situations with a clear purpose, and be allowed to explore associations and interrelationships, to question assumptions and logic and to analyse reasons and generalise. They like to be intellectually stretched. Theorists learn least well when asked to do something without apparent purpose, when activities are unstructured and ambiguous and when emotion is emphasised. They do not learn well when faced with activities lacking depth, when data to support the subject are unavailable, and when they feel ''out of tune'' with the rest of the group.


Pragmatists are keen on trying out ideas, theories and techniques to see if they work in practice. They positively search out new ideas and take the first opportunity to experiment with applications. They are the sort of people who return from management courses bursting with new ideas which they want to try out in practice. They like to get on with things, and act quickly and confidently on ideas which attract them. They tend to be impatient with ruminating and open-ended discussions. They are essentially practical, down-to-earth people, who like making practical decisions and solving problems. They respond to problems and opportunities ''as a challenge''. Their philosophy is ''There is always a better way'' and ''If it works, it is good''. Pragmatists learn best when there is an obvious link between the subject-matter and their current job. They like being exposed to techniques or processes which are clearly practical, have immediate relevance and which they are likely to have the opportunity to implement. Pragmatists learn least well where there are no immediate benefits or rewards from the activity and the learning events or their organisers seem distant from reality. As a learner, you should know your areas of strength and weakness, you are in a much better position to choose learning experiences and opportunities which suit you, or to develop your weaker styles in order to be able to extend the range of experiences from which you are able to learn.

Other Factors influencing learning

Matching your learning style(s) to the available learning opportunities or alternatively seeking out learning opportunities which complement your learning style(s) is by no means the only way to successful learning. Many other factors influence people's ability to learn. Two categories which are worth mentioning here, if only in outline, are individual blockages to learning and the skills required for effective learning to take place.

Blockages to learning

Individuals sometimes find that their ability to learn is blocked for one or more reasons. The following list is based on the work of Temporal and Boydel. It includes some factors which we have already considered. The rest speak for themselves.

Perceptual Not seeing that there is a problem
Cultural The way things are here...
Emotional Fear or insecurity
Motivational Unwillingness to take risks
Cognitive Previous learning experience
Intellectual Limited learning style, Poor learning skills
Expressive Poor communication skills
Situational Lack of opportunities
Physical Place, time
Specific Unsupportive environment
Skills involved in effective learning behaviour

Alan Mumford has devised the following list of skills which he believes to be involved in learning effectively:

  • The ability to establish effectiveness criteria for yourself.
  • The ability to measure your effectiveness.
  • The ability to identify your own learning needs.
  • The ability to plan personal learning.
  • The ability to take advantage of learning opportunities.
  • The ability to manage your own learning processes.
  • The ability to listen to others.
  • The capacity to accept help.
  • The ability to face unwelcome information.
  • The ability to take risks and tolerate anxiety.
  • The ability to analyse what other successful performers do.
  • The ability to know yourself.
  • The ability to share information with others.
  • The ability to review what has been learnt.
Group Learning

In the POSH programme, apart from normal workshops, tutorials and lecture activities, you will be working with a number of course participants as a learning group on course assignments, projects, field/case studies and brainstorming activities. The Group members with whom you will be working will be encountering a number of different learning situations. It is obviously in your interest to learn as much as you possibly can from your peers, if you want to improve your learning effectiveness.

But not all course participants will get the same benefit out of the same learning situation. You have almost certainly, at some time during your career, been on a safety training course with a group of fellow practitioners, all with similar amounts of experience and a desire to learn as much as they could from it. At the end of the course, some of them probably thought that it was most enjoyable and extremely useful, while others thought it a complete waste of time. How could this possibly be, since they all went through exactly the same programme?

A large part of the answer lies in the fact that different people have different ways of learning, ways that seem more natural to them, ways that they prefer. This means that some types of learning experience suit them better than others. If a course offers them plenty of their preferred type of experience, then they are likely to enjoy it and to learn a lot from it. If not, then it may well turn out to be, for them, a complete waste of time.

Group members will benefit greatly from understanding that different people have different ways of learning, not least because it will explain some of their previous failures - and successes. At the start of their postgraduate studies, they will spend a significant amount of time studying how people learn. To be an effective learner, you must also understand how people learn. If you understand that there are different types of learner, you will be better able to help each other to get maximum benefit from the programme. You can do this by providing, where possible, different types of learning opportunity within workshops and tutorial.

By understanding that each member has a preferred learning style, and finding out what it is, you will be in a better position to understand the strengths and weaknesses of Group members with different styles from your own. You will also understand why they respond to you as they do. The person who never looks enthusiastic and never seems to want to speak may be learning just as much as the others, but may simply be a ''Reflector'', who does not wish to commit him or herself too hurriedly.

  • Christopher Johns. Head of EDT Christopher has more than 25 years of experience as a theatre sound designer in the UK and Hong Kong. In the UK he worked for Bristol Old Vic Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. While in Hong Kong he has continued working as a Sound Designer, investigating new methods of creating and implementing sound design in live performance and the fusion of live performance and digital technologies.
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  • Leo Chung. Snr. Lecturer Lighting Design Leo is renowned for his lighting designs for dance. Beyond dance Leo has lit extensively around Hong Kong's professional theatre community. Leo's major Hong Kong awards include: Best Lighting Design (1995, 1996, 1998, 2001), the Outstanding Achievement of the Decade Award (1994) by the HK Federation of Drama Societies and the Best Dance Lighting Design (1999), the Best Set and Lighting Design (2006) by the HK Dance Alliance.
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  • Psyche Chui. Snr. Lecturer Lighting Design Psyche studied at Yale University as a Special Research Fellow under renowned lighting designers and professors, Jennifer Tipton and Bill Warfel. She also spent time at Indiana University.

    Psyche has lit for virtually every theatre company in Hong Kong and continues to light locally and overseas. Psyche also received the Special Career Achievement Award by the Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies.

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  • Mak Kwok Fai. Lecturer Lighting Tech. Fai has worked as technical director / lighting designer for numerous productions locally and overseas.

    Fai is one of Hong Kong's most experienced Automated Light Programmer and

    Production Electrician working on many of Hong Kong's major productions.

    Fai is leading the Department into the field of multimedia projection.

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  • Jim McGowan. Snr. Lecturer Sound Design Jim studied theatre at the University of Glasgow, and graduated to become a freelance lighting and sound designer in Scotland, working in many venues and with many companies across the country. Jim became well known in Scotland for lighting and sound programming, and electronics for props and special effects. In 2002 Jim began teaching at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and created lighting and sound designs for many Academy productions, while continuing freelance technical and programming work.
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    Yuen Chuk Wa. Lecturer Sound System Design Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas.

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  • Albert Ho. Lecturer Music Recording Albert is an active composer and musician. He specialises in composing music for picture and is also a specialist in classical music recording especially for orchestra and choirs. He is interested in experimenting with various kinds of micing techniques, acoustics and the effect on recording. Albert is also interested in interactive performance and the communication between human gestures, music and computers.
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  • Ken Chan. Snr. Lecturer Technical Direction Ken completed a degree in Theatre Production at York University Toronto Canada. Upon Graduation, he became Associate Technical Director with the Canadian Opera Company. Three years later he was offered the position as the Technical Director with the National Ballet of Canada. Ken moved back to Hong Kong two years ago to develop the Technical Direction stream of the EDT Department.
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    German. Lecturer Technical Direction German graduated from the BFA Technical Direction programme in 2006. He worked for many staging companies including Stage Technologies before coming to work at the Academy. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas.

    Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante.

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    Raymond Mak. Lecturer Technical Direction Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo. Quisque sit amet est et sapien ullamcorper pharetra. Mauris placerat eleifend leo. Quisque sit amet est et sapien ullamcorper pharetra.
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    German . Lecturer Technical Direction Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo. Quisque sit amet est et sapien ullamcorper pharetra.
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    German . Lecturer Technical Direction Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo. Quisque sit amet est et sapien ullamcorper pharetra.
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    German . Lecturer Technical Direction Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo. Quisque sit amet est et sapien ullamcorper pharetra.
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    Raymond Mak. Lecturer Technical Direction Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo. Quisque sit amet est et sapien ullamcorper pharetra.
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