What a great post Alan. I am one of the people working on this study and this is what we have written in our scoping document. It chimes so well with what you have just said. Thanks for this brilliant comment. Can we quote you in our final report? We can anonymise if preferred.
“It is our assumption that most learners in post-compulsory settings will experience some online component to their learning, formal or informal, and that as they move into lifelong learning/professional development this component will form a larger proportion of study time. Online learners are not, then, a distinct group of learners: they are post-compulsory learners in particular situations and/or with particular preferences and needs.”