Does EdTech Substitute for Traditional Learning? Experimental Estimates of the Educational Production Function

Resource type
Report
Authors/contributors
Title
Does EdTech Substitute for Traditional Learning? Experimental Estimates of the Educational Production Function
Abstract
Experimental studies rarely consider the shape and nature of the education production function, which is useful for deriving optimal levels of input substitution in increasingly resource constrained environments. Because of the rapid expansion of EdTech as a substitute for traditional learning around the world and against the backdrop of full-scale temporary substitution due to the coronavirus pandemic, we explore the educational production function by using a large randomized controlled trial that varies dosage of computer-assisted learning (CAL) as a substitute for traditional learning. Results show production is concave in CAL. Moving from zero to a low level of CAL, the marginal rate of technical substitution (MRTS) of CAL for traditional learning is greater than one. Moving from a lower to a higher level of CAL, production remains on the same or a lower isoquant and the MRTS is equal to or less than one. The estimates are consistent with the general form of a Cobb-Douglas production function and imply that a blended approach of CAL and traditional learning is optimal. The findings have direct implications for the rapidly expanding use of educational technology worldwide and its continued substitution for traditional learning.
Report Number
w26967
Place
Cambridge, MA
Institution
National Bureau of Economic Research
Date
04/2020
Pages
w26967
Language
en
Short Title
Does EdTech Substitute for Traditional Learning?
Accessed
22/06/2020, 09:49
Library Catalog
DOI.org (Crossref)
Extra
DOI: 10.3386/w26967 shortDOI: 10/ghgk6x
Citation
Bettinger, E., Fairlie, R., Kapuza, A., Kardanova, E., Loyalka, P., & Zakharov, A. (2020). Does EdTech Substitute for Traditional Learning? Experimental Estimates of the Educational Production Function (No. w26967; p. w26967). National Bureau of Economic Research. https://doi.org/10.3386/w26967