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Video presents Profs. Lucchetti and Pellizzari's research on the impact of distance learning

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Before COVID-19 halted classroom-based learning, GSEM Professors Jérémy Lucchetti and Michele Pellizzari had already conducted a study on the effects of distance learning in higher education, involving almost 1’500 first-year University of Geneva students. Their findings are presented in a short video.

Students were randomly offered online courses in certain weeks of the term, while others as a check were not. The participants were able to attend face-to-face classes if they wanted to. To assess the effect that online lessons had on the student’s ability to answer correctly, they were given multiple-choice exam questions, which were linked to the material covered in each week of the term.

Their results indicate that the least able students’ probability of correctly answering questions was reduced and that the most able students’ probability of correctly answering questions increased.

In addition, they found that when streaming was not available, students of different abilities made different choices. High-ability students were more likely to stay at home and self-study, where less able students were more likely to make the effort to attend class as the material was harder to understand without the benefits of in-person teaching and explanation.

Most significantly, the study found that the overall impact of online learning is to deepen inequalities between more and less able students and that better forms of online teaching are needed to reduce these inequalities. However, the wide range of techniques and technology that has been tested during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique opportunity to do so.

Prof. Jérémy Lucchetti and Prof. Michele Pellizzari are Professors of Economics at the GSEM’s Institute of Economics and Econometrics. Prof. Lucchetti’s research focuses on political economics and environmental economics, and Prof. Pellizzari’s main research interests lie in labor, education economics, and applied econometrics.

This video is part of a planned series launched by the Institute of Economics and Econometrics highlighting research carried out within the School.

Click here to watch the video.
> Click here to read the news story on Profs. Lucchetti and Pellizzari’s article “Distance Learning in Higher Education: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment”.

June 23, 2021
  2021
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