The Purpose of Online Education
Distance education in the US, for example, is one way to improve the educational attainment of adults. A significant number of Americans do not have education beyond K-12. Distance education offers the flexibility. This is important since the target customer is usually employed or managing a household. Family and work obligations prevent adults from pursuing higher education. This predicament is different from those of school dropouts. Distance education requires motivation on the part of the student. Individuals who could possibly benefit from online education are those who want to pursue higher education but because of responsibilities and schedule cannot attend classes in traditional schools.
In this light, it is useful to browse through some of the data recently released by the National Center for Education Statistics. The following figures are copied from the report entitled "Learning at a Distance: Undergraduate Enrollment in Distance Education Courses and Degree Programs".
First, participation in distance education courses has grown: