Meet Animín, a chatbot developed by our team to guide students through the registration process for the ÁNIMA Technological High School.
As a company with number of educational programs, we are happy to contribute to this process, which was mainly done face-to-face, through different stages, and had to be reinvented due to the pandemic.
To know more about ANIMÍN, we spoke with Lucía Varela, ÁNIMA’s Social Division Coordinator and Esteban Ventura, Project Manager at IDATHA.
ÁNIMA is a Technological High School created in 2016 providing new educational opportunities and first job experiences to young people in Uruguay.
It offers two study orientations (Administration and ICT), incorporating job market as a quality learning space, complementary to the classroom.
Its offer is aimed at young people in vulnerable situations, who are between 14 and 16 years old, and want to study 4th, 5th and 6th high school grades in Administration or ICT. (Computer Science).
“Since the beginning, we encourage women to learn about this program and get closer to ICTs. In this matter, we are going to take small actions to generate interest. This is the first year we achieved that the entering ICT generation was equally formed by women and men.”, Lucia tells us.
Pyxis supports ÁNIMA in 3 ways: as a leading partner, as a training company and through annual SCRUM workshops. As a partner we support financially through an annual donation for students to support their training in teaching them how forming company. In this program we admit students as interns.
ANIMÍN is another result from this synergy. “We are proud to support them from our “human” spirit. We are motivated to collaborate reinventing its processes in such a changing world, which is transforming with the pandemic, and which requires new and innovative models, ”says Diego Sastre, CEO at Pyxis.
Applications vs capacity. Opportunity for Animín
“Year after year we receive about 300 applications for 50 available spots. With the pandemic, it became complicated for us to carry out the different stages (mostly done face-to-face). We had to implement virtual options but at the same time in a way that would allow us to reach everyone”, says Lucía.
ÁNIMA learned about the chatbots developed by IDATHA both for the Management in the Digital Proximity program and for “Enlace Solidario”, a bot that connects people seeking help with institutions providing assistance.
“This may be interesting for Pre-Ánima”, they thought. And they contacted Pyxis. “It has the advantage of running via WhatsApp guaranteeing to reach everyone,” says Lucía.
The call for the registration process is divided into four phases: online registration form, online activities on Instagram, personal interviews with candidates and families, and final raffle draw.
“This is the pre-registration stage. We provide information to confirm if ÁNIMA is what they expect, if they qualify, etc. We want to make sure they get to know the program and its requirements as well as to respond frequently asked questions ”, explains Esteban.
The challenge for IDATHA was configuring the bot to inform and advise each interested party and then analyze if their profile matches the one established by the program. These chatbots are integrated using intelligence or natural language processing (to understand what the user is asking for) and it are constantly updated to include improvements and new responses as its use progresses. In this case, it provides information about ÁNIMA, through a menu on WhatsApp.
In addition to WhatsApp as an accessible tool to reach applicants, ÁNIMA incorporated videos and some questions are answered through them on Instagram (social network used by the majority of young people), giving more affluence and dynamism to the exchange.
The next stage, from September 10th to 20th, is the Pre-Ánima activities stage. “Through the chatbot, we’ll send different challenges that the participants will be able to complete in order to prepare themselves for the next stage, the interview,” explains Lucía.
How does the process go?
ÁNIMA has currently 153 students and by 2021 there are places for 50 new students (25 for Administration and 25 for ICT). Registration will be open until Sunday, September 20th. The application form can be accessed through the ÁNIMA website (anima.edu.uy), its social networks and WhatsApp 091808132 (Animín).
Pyxis and ÁNIMA are planning to work on solutions that allow study alternatives to those who participated in the selection process and were no selected.
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