One of the claims that drew me to the online environment of distance education was that you can work at your own pace. This statement is somewhat misleading, though. I was led to believe that I could start a class and take as much time as I needed. The reality is that the classes do have set timeframes with starting and ending dates.
The high side is that you do have the ability to adjust your schedule so you can do the work when you have time. You do not have to commute to class to be present in an actual classroom. When you do your work is entirely up to you if the environment is asynchronous. If your program is synchronous you will need to participate in activities, such as lectures, at specific times. Either way you still save the commuting time.
Some distance learning programs permit students to take as much time as necessary to complete a program. Most of these programs are correspondence type courses where students correspond using the postal service.