Returns to Effort: Experimental Evidence from an Online Language Platform
While distance learning has become widespread, causal estimates regarding returns to effort in technology-assisted learning environments are scarce due to high attrition rates and endogeneity of effort. In this paper, I manipulate effort by randomly assigning students different numbers of lessons in a popular online language learning platform. Using administrative data from the platform and the instrumental variables strategy, I find that completing 9 Duolingo lessons, which corresponds to approximately 60 minutes of studying, leads to a 0.057–0.095 standard deviation increase in test scores. Comparisons to the literature and back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that distance learning can be as effective as in-person learning for college students for an introductory language course.
Ersoy, F. (2021). Returns to effort: Experimental evidence from an online language platform. Experimental Economics, 24(3), 1047–1073. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10683-020-09689-1