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Pathfinding algorithms in A Level computer science

CP504 Live remote training course

During this course you'll explore how pathfinding algorithms can be used to find the shortest path between a set of points.

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Programming Algorithms Post 16 Secondary certificate
Live remote training course 2 hours

  • Live remote training 16 January 15:45—16 January 2024
  • Live remote training 8 February 15:45—8 February 2024
  • Live remote training 9 February 15:30—9 February 2024
  • Live remote training 21 March 09:00—21 March 2024

Pathfinding algorithms are used to find solutions to a given problem, using the shortest path between a set of points. These problems are commonplace, from satellite navigation systems to internet packet routing. During this course you’ll learn how the Dijkstra’s and A* search algorithms function.

You’ll explore how pathfinding algorithms are mapped to the A Level computer science curriculum, including the opportunity to discuss strategies of how to teach both algorithms effectively.

Who is it for?

This course is aimed at teachers delivering A Level computer science. It is advised you have some basic knowledge of algorithms from GCSE computer science specifications.

During this course you’ll access the Isaac Computer Science platform, it is advised you sign up for a free, teachers account ahead of the course.

Topics covered

  • Dijkstra’s Shortest Path Algorithm – during this session you’ll explore how the Dijkstra’s algorithm functions, including with examples and opportunities for you to put the algorithm in practice.
  • A* Search Algorithm – during this session you’ll explore how the A* search algorithm works, you’ll have the opportunity to practice using examples and explore the pseudocode behind the algorithm.

How long is this course?

This course will last approximately 2 hours, these sessions maybe split across multiple days.

How will you learn?

Scheduled live, interactive online sessions led by an experienced practitioner. Flexible Professional Development Leader-supported, participant-led tasks, involving deep exploration of the subject content.


By the end of this intensive CPD pathway you will be able to:
  • Understand the purpose of pathfinding algorithms
  • Explore the Dijkstra’s algorithm, examine how the algorithm functions
  • Explore the A* search algorithm, examine how the algorithm functions
  • Practice finding the shortest path, using both pathfinding algorithms

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This course is from the National Centre for Computing Education and is delivered by STEM Learning.

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