Curtin Malaysia academics awarded Advance HE Global Impact Grant for research on personalised learning

Miri, Sarawak – 16 May 2024 – Two academics of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia), Dr. Noraisikin Sabani and Dr. Anita Jimmie, recently clinched a prestigious Advance HE Global Impact Grant, the first for Curtin Malaysia, for their groundbreaking research project.

Their research project titled ‘Curtin University Malaysia: Unveiling the Power of Personalised Learning – A Journey Towards Inclusive Education’ has not only garnered funding, but also international recognition and acclaim, through the award.

Dr. Noraisikin is a Senior Lecturer in the General Studies Department of Curtin Malaysia’s Faculty of Humanities and Health Sciences, while Dr. Anita is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Work Integrated Learning and Language Department of its School of Pre-U and Continuing Education (SPACE).

Dr. Noraisikin and Dr. Anita’s pioneering work centres on the development of a personalised learning framework aimed at fostering inclusivity within educational environments. Their project places a significant emphasis on digital inclusivity, ensuring that all students, regardless of background or circumstance, have equal access to educational resources and opportunities.

Advance HE will showcase Dr. Noraisikin and Dr. Anita’s case study as a beacon of excellence in educational innovation globally. Their case study highlights their innovative approaches to creating a learning environment that caters to the unique needs of each student.

By leveraging technology and pedagogical advancements, they have pioneered methods to address the global divide among university students, promoting reduced inequality and sustainable inclusion – initiatives that are aligned closely with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to Dr. Noraisikin, their research project involved studying factors influencing the adoption of digital tools, and implementing customised teaching methods in the classroom. In addition, they investigated how students use digital technology to personalise their learning.

Dr. Noraisikin and Dr. Anita’s commitment to addressing student challenges extended beyond classroom learning. They sought to understand the personalised learning experiences of socio-economically disadvantaged university learners, exploring their difficulties and experiences, and also examined digital equality issues among the students.

Furthermore, they endeavoured to bridge the gap by mentoring undergraduates to support other socioeconomically disadvantaged learners, equipping them with essential information communication technology (ICT) skills for success at university.

Professor Tang Fu Ee, Dean of Learning and Teaching at Curtin Malaysia, remarked that through their dedication and vision, Dr. Noraisikin and Dr. Anita are driving positive change within the educational landscape, embodying Curtin Malaysia’s commitment to excellence and inclusivity. He added that the grant and acknowledgment from Advance HE is a testament to the great learning and teaching that takes place in Curtin Malaysia.

“This grant shows how much care and excellence we put into teaching to ensure our students graduate with the knowledge, and technical and social skills needed to succeed in their chosen careers. Due to their high quality, our graduates continue to be highly sought after by industry,” he said.

Dr. Anita said she was thrilled and honoured to secure such a prestigious award. She thanked the Advance HE Global Impact Grant Panel for recognising good practices in empowering every learner’s unique journey with tailored support. “This is a positive sign that our efforts to improve the digital gap are world standard and align with the UNSDG’s goals for equitable learning,” she remarked.

Her sentiments were echoed by Dr. Noraisikin, who said, “This recognition celebrates our commitment to exploring personalised learning technology to promote equity in education for all, regardless of their circumstances. Consequently, we are very enthusiastic about continuing our research to benefit the learning community,” she said.

A total of 15 applicants have received Advance HE Global Impact Grants from Advance HE international member institutions and international membership beneficiaries to develop short case studies of recent practices that align with the grant theme of contributing to achieving the United Nations SDGs; and one of four subthemes: Education for Sustainable Development; Supporting Reduced Inequality and Sustainable Inclusion; Building Future Leaders; and Delivering Strategic Change in HE Sustainability.

The grant recipients come from universities worldwide that are Advance HE’s global members. Besides Curtin Malaysia, the other successful applicants are from Deakin University, Monash University, The University of Adelaide, University of Newcastle, Charles Sturt University, and The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia; the British University in Egypt, Frederick University in Cyprus, National Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, Xi’an Jiaoting-Liverpool University in China, The University of Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi University in the United Arab Emirates, and Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia.

Advance HE is a learned society in higher education based in the United Kingdom that works with institutions worldwide to improve higher education for staff, students, and society. Their strategic goals include enhancing confidence and trust in higher education, addressing systemic inequalities, advancing education to meet the evolving needs of students and society, and supporting the work of their members and the higher education sector. They are higher education experts, focusing on teaching and learning, governance, leadership development, equality, diversity, and inclusion.

The Advance HE supports higher education and academics through professional development programmes, events, fellowships, awards, surveys, and consultancy and enhancement services. In particular, an Advanced HE Fellowship demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and provides recognition of practice, impact, and leadership in teaching and learning. It is awarded based on evidence of personal professional practice that meets the requirements of the Professional Standards Framework, which is Advance HE’s standards framework for the higher education sector. Currently, Curtin Malaysia has the second-highest number of Advance HE Fellows across Malaysia’s Senior Fellow, Fellow, and Associate Fellow categories.

Ian Hall, Advance HE Head of Membership (International), expressed delight that these grants were awarded to successful applicants whose work stood out in a powerful field.  “Everyone in higher education has a role to play – large or small – in contributing to the UNSDGs, and sharing good practice worldwide is vital. Advance HE is in a fortunate position to be able to come up with good ideas, and we look forward to sharing these case studies once they are developed.”

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Dr Noraisikin Sabani

Dr Anita Jimmie