Youth in Automation Course Design: Workshop Output

Youth in Automation

Course Design

Workshop Output

Skill development

Soft Skills

Skill

How do we develop

Collaboration

  • Sit two children together at each laptop
  • Create team groups (maybe reds and blues) and set the grade for the group as the grade of the lowest scoring team

Adaptability

  • Set new challenges for some automation scenarios. (e.g. challenge the children to use a loop instead of the Send Key activity)
  • Change team groups between projects. (However, do not change the 2 student teams)

Communication

  • Work in small teams of two and helping other group colleagues
  • The children will present their own automation projects

Creativity

  • Let children work on optional automation challenges in projects (including minimum and performance requirements)
  • Encourage children to find their own challenges to automate

Perseverance

  • Let children discover the best way to automate scenarios (instead of guiding them step by step through the process)
  • Use daily and project level objectives

Algorithmic thinking

  • Encourage children to manually perform the process and plan their steps before working with UiPath Studio
  • Encourage children to troubleshoot their colleagues’ projects

Problem-solving

  • Let children explore solutions to challenges based on the presented theory

Self-confidence

  • Provide encouraging prompts during the challenges
  • Foster a spirit of collaboration in student groups

Competition

  • Use scoreboards for groups
  • Include an automation fair/contest

Ethics

  • Enforce the idea of optimizing as opposed to cheating
  • Include positive objectives in projects (help your parents)

RPA Skills

Understand the utility of automation

  • Provide counterexamples throughout the course (starting with the first class) of tedious activities that would be best automated
  • Include reflection moments in the activities to see how this can be transferred to the real world
  • Ask children to develop their own creative automation projects
  • Help children identify the kinds of task that are suitable for automation

UiPath Studio Interface

  • Provide a basic presentation in the beginning
  • Cover more features as the children progress through the exercises

Flowcharts

  • Explain how flowcharts work in the first lesson and provide examples
  • Use flowcharts when explaining how a process works
  • Encourage children to draw their own flowcharts before automating activities
  • Use flowcharts in activity debriefings

Functions - Input / Output

  • Explain during the first automation challenge

UiPath Studio activities

  • Explain and demonstrate early on

Variables and logical connectors

  • Use a demo, presentation, challenge and feedback to cover the theme in a game-based activity.

If statements

  • Use a demo, presentation, challenge and feedback to cover the theme in a game-based activity.

Loops (for, while, do)

  • Use a demo, presentation, challenge and feedback to cover the theme in a game-based activity.

Learning Projects

Overview

For the pilot, we will calibrate the learning experience for the 10-14 age group and adapt to the other age groups afterwards. The pilot has two main goals: provide a qualitative learning experience for the children and gather information to help us validate and standardize the program.

To reach the first goal, we will use project-based learning to engage the children in discovering the fundamentals of automation. We propose three projects to the teachers, one game-based, one real world and one free form. The projects are structured on learning blocks (automation activities). The learning blocks will not be time bound, as it will be up to the teachers to allocate the time dedicated to each learning block within the ten sessions of the module.

To reach the second goal and standardize future iterations of the program, we will gather information on how many learning blocks were delivered during the pilot, the methods used, how well the children performed and what their response was.  

The three projects we want to focus on are:

Project 1: The automation game

Project 2: Real world automation

Project 3: The automation fair

Description: The children use UiPath Studio Community Edition to complete levels in a 2D custom created game.

Description: The children use UiPath Studio Community Edition to automate day-to-day digital activities.

Description: The children identify activities to automate, implement the automation, then present the robot to their colleagues. They can vote on the best project.

Method: game-based learning

Method: project-based learning

Method: learning through exploration

Project 1: The automation game

Project Description: We will develop a set of 2D platformer game levels (think Mario) to be automated by the children using UiPath Studio Community Edition. Each level will require using one or more UiPath Studio features to complete, in increasing level of difficulty. There are two sets of incentives: complete the level and collect all game coins. Completing the level is the minimum requirement to move forward, collecting extra coins means the team applies more complex automation.

The lesson flow per level will be:

  1. Let children play the level manually (to provide a counterexample)
  2. Show an automated version run
  3. Explain the important technical concepts needed to solve the level
  4. Let the children work in teams to complete the level and, potentially, get the extra credit
  5. Assess scores, provide feedback
  6. Deliver a cliffhanger for the next learning block

Project resources: We plan to develop the levels using the Gdevelop open source platform. We are currently testing the platform and checking for other options. The next step is to prepare a proof of concept.

The children will use UiPath Studio Community Edition to automate the process of completing each level. UiPath will provide the teachers with pre-developed robots for demo purposes.

Automation Skills: We are still working on defining the flow for each level. See an example below:

Level 1: Moving the character in a straight line from start to finish (Learn the UiPath Studio interface, learn to add activities, learn attach and send key activities)

Level 2: Moving the character and avoiding an obstacle (image recognition)

Level 3: Jumping on a moving platform (if functions)

Level 4: Avoiding a series of obstacles (loops)

Level 5: Create a complex combination of activities to solve the level

Project 2: Real world automation

Project Description: The class will focus on real-life automation scenarios. The teachers will have three scenarios to teach the children. The scenarios will focus on: 

web scraping, coloring cells in Excel (or Google spreadsheets) and finding a video on Google.

The activities follow the same delivery flow as in Project 1.

Project resources: Browser, MS Excel/Google Spreadsheet and Google.com

Automation Skills: Applying the skills learned in Project 1 to real world scenarios, working with web content.

Project 3: The automation fair

Project Description: After completing the first two projects, the children will be invited to find a process suitable for automation, automate it and make a demonstration for their colleagues in an automation “show-and-tell” type event. The teachers can organize this as a contest, where either themselves or the children select the best project.

The teacher will help the children identify processes suitable or automation. To add an ethical dimension to the project, the children can be encouraged to focus on helping somebody solve a problem in their life (like their parents). The children will develop their projects over two or more classes and the teacher will assist them in the process.

Project resources: Any resource specific to the automation they choose

Automation Skills: Identifying processes suited for automation, planning and executing automation, communicating their thought process.

Teaching Methods

Exposure to UiPath Studio: We can expect children to use UiPath Studio throughout the entire program (applies to all ages).

Types of projects assigned: It’s a good approach to assign long term projects, but break them down into smaller learning blocks.

Good case practices: 

Class duration:

Class size: 12 children max per class (2 at a machine)

How to create engagement: Use counterexamples. Let them play and discover the boring aspects / the grind, then introduce automation. You can also emphasize the time saving aspects of automation (create timed activities, the best time wins). Include many moments to interact as a group, don’t just hand out tasks. Set up WOW moments.

Other teaching notes:

Gathering feedback:

Design & Development Standards

General Standards

Standards are less formal than for universities.

Language:

Learning block delivery structure:

Evaluation:

Approach:

Teacher guides

For experienced teachers, the guide should offer all necessary supporting materials and a structure, but teachers need to have control over the method. For new teachers, the guide should provide a method as well, for easy implementation.

Teacher guide structure:

  1. Introduction
  1. UiPath overview
  2. The “why” of Youth in Automation: benefits for children and teachers (suggestions: this the near future, we are preparing children for it, the benefits of automation, the teachers are pioneers, helping prepare humans for the future)
  1. Program overview
  1. Program description
  2. Program learning objectives
  3. Describe projects and learning blocks method
  4. Describe methods for evaluation and provide feedback to UiPath
  1. Pre-course prep
  1. Describe class requirements
  2. Provide links to software download and installation instructions
  3. Provide links to course resources (robots, games etc.)
  4. Provide links to prerequisite UiPath Academy courses for teachers
  1. Project 1: The automation game
  1. Project description
  2. Project learning objectives
  3. Class preparation
  4. Recommended delivery methods
  5. Level 1
  1. Level description
  2. Level basic & extra-credit tasks
  3. Opening information to deliver
  4. Concepts to present
  5. Class activity description
  6. Proposed solution for activity
  7. Cliffhanger
  1. Level 2 - same as previous point
  1. Level description
  2. Level basic & extra-credit tasks
  3. Opening information to deliver
  4. Concepts to present
  5. Class activity description
  6. Proposed solution for activity
  7. Cliffhanger
  1. Level 3 - same as previous points
  2. Level 4 - same as previous points
  3. Level 5 - same as previous points
  4. Evaluation method
  1. Project 2: Real world automation
  1. Project description
  2. Project learning objectives
  3. Class preparation
  4. Recommended delivery methods
  5. Activity 1
  1. Activity description
  2. Opening information to deliver
  3. Concepts to present
  4. Class activity description
  5. Proposed solution for activity
  6. Cliffhanger
  1. Activity 2 - same as previous point
  2. Activity 3 - same as previous point
  3. Evaluation method
  1. Project 3 : The automation fair
  1. Project description
  2. Project learning objectives
  3. Class preparation
  4. Recommended delivery methods & themes suggestion
  5. Evaluation method
  1. Post-delivery activities

Next Steps

Task

Team

Deadline

Validate platform used for developing activities

Development

18 Jan

Create Project 1 level proof of concept and estimate development time

Development

18 Jan

Complete level design plan

Development

18 Jan

Organize output and share with team

YiA Team

15 Jan

Create Teacher Guide Outline

YiA Team

23 Jan

SITAS teachers can assist with feedback on the outline and materials, if there is a weekend between draft delivery and date to receive the feedback.