What is RPA

RPA – Robotic Process Automation – is a software-based technology that enables computer systems to be configured to replace iterative human actions in a business process

Process Automation robots use the UI of an existing system to capture data and make changes to applications just like humans would. They can interpret this data, trigger responses from the system, and communicate with other systems to perform a wide variety of repetitive tasks. Unlike humans, Process Automation robots never sleep and never make a mistake, making the potential for error-free efficiency infinite.

This technology plays a crucial role in automating repetitive tasks at workplaces in all industries. It is estimated that up to 60% of work in an organization such as high volume processes, repetitive tasks, digital processes, activities with minimal human interaction are ideal candidates for automation. 

Use Cases in Education:

Automation would take highly repetitive, monotonous work out of the way for teachers, faculty, and other academic staff alike, allowing them to focus their energies more on the things that truly matter while ensuring that the routine administrative tasks are performed error-free. Automation in education can remove several hurdles that educators are faced with that steal away precious time – tasks such as keeping track of a student’s progress, grading and attendance management can easily be taken over by automation bots. 

Here are some academic use cases that robotic process automation can revolutionize in education:

Tracking course progress – Set empirical goals for faculty and students and track their progress automatically with KPIs. Send alerts and warnings for missed targets.

RPA enables Universities to track course progress based on the original lesson plan designed by faculty. Empirical goals can be set by the University for faculty and by University and faculty for students. RPA enables the institution to track deliverables and deadlines for students, as well as course progress. It can provide early reminders for upcoming tasks in addition to alerts and warnings for missed targets. 

Student activity monitoring – Analyze the time students devote to individual subjects/ topics and help them optimize their study-schedule.

Student progress and performance can be tracked with RPA. Students who are found to be weak or poor performing in certain courses or modules can be identified. The system can reach out to those students and enquire if they need assistance. It could also provide suggestions for self-improvement in addition to alerting faculty in cases where external assistance is needed such as identifying and engaging tutors for specific modules.

On-screen evaluation – Auto-scan answer sheets, calculate scores, generate results, and send out scanned copies of evaluated answer sheets.

Exams, both screen-based and paper-based can be evaluated using RPA, based on inputs provided by faculty. Paper-based exams are scanned and graded by the system with minimal external assistance. RPA can calculate and generate scores which could then be updated in the database as well as student portals. The process can free up faculty time as well as generate results much faster.

Several other tasks could be taken over by RPA: enrollment process, monitoring student/teacher performance, regulatory compliance, library management, timetable updates, exam hall seating arrangement, player/team selection in sports, etc.

Tangible benefits of RPA:

  • RPA is more accurate

RPA systems can be implemented for routine, mundane tasks such as student enrollment, attendance management, and tuition fee collection – there will be no hassles around missing payslips or data that has been entered wrong, as RPAs can handle these processes seamlessly and in an error-free manner.

  • RPA sticks to regulations. 

With systems that are empowered with RPA,  it is easy to ensure compliance – they execute their tasks reliably and reduce compliance risk. As long as they are programmed to operate according to existing regulations and standards, they will never step out of line. This makes using RPA one of the easiest ways to certify that the school or university complies with all existing standards for quality assessments, improving the chances of going up on the scoreboards for best institutions in a given region.

  • RPA saves money

 RPA can reduce processing costs by up to 80%. They will exhibit a positive return on investment in no time and can result in further accumulative cost reductions of up to 20%, over time. The initial investment is therefore completely justified, and the savings garnered can be invested elsewhere such as towards improving infrastructure, or improving compensation for employees while reducing the workload. 

  • RPA is super scalable.

Unlike humans, RPA-empowered software systems are excellent at multitasking – they perform massive amounts of operations parallelly, in both desktop and cloud environments. So no matter how large the project or the institution, or the rate at which it grows, the RPA is capable of scaling alongside it and providing the same level of efficiency consistently. 

  • RPA increases productivity.

Relieved of the burden of monotonous, no-value add tasks, employees are freed of the pressure of repetitive tasks and can engage more meaningfully at the workplace, increasing productivity and boosting morale. Educators can focus on bettering their methods or can engage their students more, instead of wasting precious time stuck in front of systems, forced to work on routine admin tasks.