Eran Ben-Ari is Top Hat’s Chief Product Officer, and oversees all product-related functions, including product management, development, design and analytics. 10 years ago our founders, while students at the University of Waterloo, felt there had to be a better way to drive engagement in the classroom. Today, Top Hat’s active learning technology helps professors easily engage students and build comprehension before, during and after class.


Episode Overview:

This episode has a lot of ‘AH HA’ moments that got me really excited. In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How Top Hat is disrupting the educational industry at three different layers. Students, professors and textbook authors
  • Even revisiting the publishing model of textbooks
  • Their unique go to market & sales strategy
  • Eran is pursuing Anthropology of Technology, which has me quite intrigued.
  • Driving engagement in the classroom that really embraces active learning
  • Embracing the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model in the classroom
  • Creating an agile teaching platform for instructors

This episode is great for those educators, human resources, learning professionals and anyone who wants to make learning really STICK!


Top Hat is disrupting three different components or facets of higher education or teaching today.

  • How the courses are actually being delivered and for the first time, active learning can be used at scale to leverage technology. Active learning is the ability of students to learn a little bit of interaction or engagement.
  • Professors and teachers today are not as tech savvy as their students so most of them are struggling on how they can shine, how they can bring to life or realize why they came to this profession in the first place which is to really make an impact to their learners. Top Hat created a community of instructors, teachers are no longer alone in teaching and that it infused on Top Hat’s content.
  • The third disruption is about how they create content

“Students or learners nowadays have really short attention span”

Students are craving to study and learn in a more non-traditional way. Eran shared how students in this generation have shorter attention space and are often multi-tasking even when there is an instructor or a teacher speaking in front of them.


Classrooms are also getting larger and larger which also caused to the increase of students that a teacher can handle to be able to successfully make an interaction between the student and a teacher. Many of the more technology that we are introduced in the classrooms, they did not place the professors at the heart of what they are building because it was either for the students or the administrator. That created a lot of friction on how they use that technology in the classroom which created a disjointed experience when they are trying to learn in the classroom.

How Top Hat got into Universities:

The founders thought that if they focus on the professor and making sure that there are real value for the professor and at the same time, bring in the students as the paying customer. This will create a very fast adoption.

Lessons Learned:

  • Focus on the professors and not everyone at the same time
  • There is a lot of really valuable impact on the real time feedback system
  • If you build, almost as of a reward system to student to play along with these new mode of teaching they can really harness the lessons.

Resource Recommendation:

Book Recommendation: The Interpretation Of Cultures Paperback by Clifford Geertz

Favorite Hot Spot: Hey Brothers


About Top Hat:

Top Hat is a higher education teaching app that makes active learning come to life. Their suite of easy-to-use tools address four teaching challenges: student engagement; textbook affordability and customizability; student comprehension; and secure test administration. More than 2 million students at 750 of the top 1,000 colleges and universities in North America have used Top Hat.


Connect with Eran:

Website: TopHat.com

Facebook: Top Hat

LinkedIn: Top Hat LinkedIn

Twitter: @tophat

Instagram: @tophathq