I have never been a fan of online courses, particularly ones where a student simply clicks through a set of slides. However, online course delivery has evolved into a format that is not only cheaper, but one which can actually provide a higher-quality learning experience than a traditional classroom.
Universities around the world are now providing virtual classrooms for their students. I encourage you to view MIT’s free course on Calculus as an example of an online course done well:
Online courses can provide classroom-quality instruction without the cost of airfare + lodging for thousands of students. Furthermore, they would free up the DAU professors to schedule virtual meetings with individual students who are struggling, as opposed to having them perpetually re-teaching the entire course to a new classroom of students every few weeks.
With these types of high-quality online courses, content can be added and updated continuously, and will always be accessible to Department of Defense personnel around the world.
DAU classroom training is expensive. This year, DAU expects to spend $103 million on total training, and over 34k students will receive in-person, classroom training. Last year, DAU spent over 10k for my training alone and will spend an equal or greater amount on me in the following year. That 10k could have been nearly eliminated, and my education could have been as good, if not better, with a modern, high-quality online course system.
Understandably, a complete overhaul cannot be done overnight, but even converting one course at time can produce huge savings. For example: the course ACQ201B is required agency-wide for acquisition positions. In the next year, this course is offered 433 times, with 35 students per class. Converting just this one course alone would yield savings in the hundreds of thousands every year.