Welcome back to Top Dog Apps and another software review. Today we are looking at another software category that has been growing amazingly in recent years. Which category am I talking about? The e-learning and course creation one 🙂 The Heights platform is a new tool on the block, so let’s see how it stacks up.
What is Heights?
Heights is an e-learning tool for people who want to create their own online courses. Think of other big players like Kajabi, and you will get the idea. The thing is Kajabi starts at $120 a month minimum.
I have heard a lot about predictions saying that the E-learning industry will reach over $300 billion in value by 2025, so you can see why these platforms are important.
Who is behind Heights?
Heights was a twinkle in the eye of its creator as far back as 2012, but it only started being worked on in any form from 2015. Even then it was a side project being made by a small group of people. It’s only in the last few years that it has turned into a product ready for market and fully prepped for launch 🙂
Heights founder is Bryan McAnulty, who also has experience setting up Velora and a design studio called Velora Studios. I am pleased to see that Bryan’s product design skills have improved, as the Velora Studios website is like stepping back to the 90’s 🙂
Seeing a founder with any kind of business creation background is good to see, and gives me the impression that Heights could succeed in the longer term.
How much is Heights?
The current pricing is very competitive when compared to some of the main players in this industry.
Although I like the pricing, they have a pretty massive jump from the $99 to the $499 a month option. They should add an extra step there in between to make it seem like a smoother transition. As they only count active students (as oppose to past students that no longer log in), most people would be fine with those first two tiers.
That is a good price point for course creators, and it gets even cheaper if you can pay annually.
What are the main features of Heights?
- A one stop shop for creating and selling online courses.
- Every needed to build up a course community (inc. forums)
- Easy and simple to use
- Student tracking, to see how they are doing.
- Gamification of course participation (badges etc.)
- High quality hosting
- Integration of popular tools
What do we like?
A Complete Platform
In the past course designers would need to buy several expensive tools in order to get their content to market. As well as paying for the course creation platform, you would also need to pay for a checkout and payment gateway in order to sell it directly. Maybe even a funnel builder to allow you to market your course correctly.
Heights goes some way to easing the need for so many other software tools. You can create and sell your course from start to finish all within the Heights platform. They allow you to add upsells to your course sales structure, so there is less need for specialised software.
Heights will even help you send emails out to your students, meaning you don’t have to take up valuable space on your autoresponder! They even have the ability for making a built in forum area for your course takers. They really have thought of everything.
Everything about Heights screams high quality. From the blog on their website to the actual backend of the course creator. The UI is clean, simple and easy to get to grips with. This is important for a tool like this, as there are a lot of small details you need to consider when creating a course. Heights helps you not get too bogged down.
Add to this the fact they have an excellent set of knowledgbase articles and a mini tutorial when you first login, most users can get to know the platform quickly.
Heights platform has an excellent way to quickly and easily map out the outline of a course you want to create. This helps you to outline some key information you need at the start of this process.
It isn’t only about the lesson content either, it even includes things such as what will happen when a student enrolls and what upsells they will be offered. This is an excellent tool for any course creator that plans to market these online.
Heights is being improved on a regular basis and is clearly under very active development. Just go and look at their blog and you can see how often new features and improvements are coming out.
Heights is already a flexible platform, and I see the team over there improving this regularly, as noted above 🙂
You are free to do with your courses what you want. You can sell all the courses in your account for one membership price or you can sell each course individually. If you really want to be awkward, you can do any combination of those two features 🙂
Once a student enrols, you can either give them access to all the content at once or drip feed it over time.
All of this means that Heights will suit a wide range of course creators.
What don’t we like?
Piracy is a massive problem for online courses. Most videos can easily be copied and shared online. Many hours of a creators hard work can be given away for free.
Maybe some people would argue that only a small percentage of more tech savvy buyers would be able to download courses for free, but I still feel this is a problem that platforms such as Heights should do more to deal with.
Heights have some protection available, mostly in the form of only allowing your videos to be played and embedded on your domain. This helps alot to protect against the casual pirates, but does little against more hardcore ones.
Te be fair, most of their competition aren’t any better, so you can’t hold it against Heights that much. I added it as a negative as I want these platforms to do more.
When using Heights, you should look for a video service that has higher level encryption. I like Vdocipher, who also have a neat feature of putting the IP of the watcher on the screen. This would stop even a lot of those experienced pirates 🙂 They also make it much harder for your video to be downloaded.
One Brand Per Account
With how Heights is set up, it is not suited to housing several brands under one roof. Not a deal breaker for me, it just means you need to create separate accounts for each brand of courses you want to create.
Is Heights worth it for course creation?
For a product in such an early stage, Height is doing amazingly well. You can already stack it up favourably against a lot of the more experienced competitors, which is more than just a promising start.
I have full confidence that given a year or two Heights will be one of the biggest players in the online learning space, especially when talking about software catering to smaller scale entrepreneurs. There is probably a $3000 a month platform that blows it out of the water, but that is in a totally different league 🙂
The bottom line is, if you are a course creator or want to get into this growing market, Heights will provide an amazing platform to get started.
Go Read the Roadmap
Reading the Heights roadmap will show you that big things are planned for this platform. For me, the highlights include allowing you to attach a blog to your courses and the ability to sell your Heights courses through Shopify.
Soon, you will also be able to customize the emails that are sent out to your students. I have to say, so far Heights have proven to be good at listening to their community and implementing ideas that are generally wanted bythe majority.
Would you like to win a copy?
COMING SOON 🙂
If you have your own experiences with Heights, we would love to hear all about them in the comments section below.