• Fulya Ersoy

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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