All posts by 365545eh

Learning Never Stops With Top Hat!

These days everyone has smartphones, tablets and computers and they are constantly using them, anywhere, everywhere.. even in a classroom! When you look around a classroom you often see students sitting passively listening and taking notes on their devices and some are even checking social media or watching a funny video of a cat. The question thus arises:

How do professors get the attention of students?

This is where Top Hat comes in! Top Hat is an application that makes it easy for professors to:

  • Engage their students
  • Check readings
  • Take attendance and participation
  • Increase engagement and comprehension.

Top Hat takes those same mobile devices and turns them into engagement tools. Instead of texting friends, students use their mobile devices to interact with the Top Hat application. Top Hats value proposition is that it offers a complete education platform for inside and outside the lecture room for both the students and professors.

So how does it work?

Top Hat’s business model revolves around selling their product directly to professors and students by offering three products including Top Hat Marketplace, Top Hat Lecture and Top Hat Interactive Text which consist of pre-made content that offer a variety of media such as text, videos and interactive elements that help students study.  Through Top Hat Lecture professors can create a community for their students on the Top Hat platform and they can customise their classes making them more interactive and more engaging for their students.Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 15.20.13.png

Professors can upload their existing slides, create new slides in the platform or find expert course materials by other professors world-wide.  The Top Hat Market provides everything from presentation to question packs to course notes. At the beginning of the class, students enter a special code to confirm their attendance hence saying goodbye to pieces of paper going around the classroom. During the lecture the professor runs Top Hat right
from their tablet allowing them to walk around the class and mark up the slides  while students can view the slides on their devices. Top Hat makes it easy to engage new students in new, creative ways.  The discussion model on Top Hat allows the professor to question students, and in return students can reply either publicly or anonymously and rate their favourite comments. This way it boosts engagement especially for students who normally don’t participate. This is due to the ‘Online Disinhibation effect’, which is the tendency for people to say or do things online that they typically wouldn’t in the in-person world (Suler 321-326). Moreover, Top Hat also allows for on the spot quizzes. While students answer the quiz questions, Top Hat generates a report in real time on the results.  Moreover, Top Hat gradebook shows how the entire class is doing throughout the semester. This provides professors with up to date information on students complete coursework, their test scores and their attendance and therefore cutting administration time for professors.

Co-Value Creation within Top Hat

Top Hat is a win-win situation for both the professors and the students. Professors benefit from Top Hat as it is dependable, cloud based and provide cost savings. Moreover, professors co-create educational value by sharing their class materials and increasing the educational level.   On the other side, students also benefit from the platform as it makes the learning experience more engaging, more exciting, and more interactive. Students can participate in discussions, rate each other work and develop their knowledge by sharing work, opinions and ideas.Students also get more value out of their education and save around 80% vs. traditional books. By replacing traditional books with online content, less books are printed and used hence providing Top Hat a sustainable advantage. Moreover, Top Hat provides around the clock support through including instructional designers to help professors make their lectures engaging and educational.

Top Hat satisfied the feasibility of required reallocation criteria.  and covers several institutional arrangements. The key to success for Top Hat is both parties being actively involved in using the platform. Professors should solely use this form of sharing content with the students while contributing engaging content on the platform. In turn, students will be more actively involved in the platform and as well contribute more.

Say goodbye to the passive traditional learning experience and say hello to exciting, engaging and active classes! 

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“Home – Top Hat”. Top Hat. N.p., 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Suler, John. “The Online Disinhibition Effect”. CyberPsychology & Behavior 7.3 (2004): 321-326. Web.

Hola, Bonjour, Ciao, Namaste! Learning a new language has become as easy as 123

Hola! Ciao! Bonjour! Namaste! Salaam!

There are so many beautiful languages out there to learn, but where do you start?

Learning a new language takes time, effort and you need a lot of practice especially by speaking to natives. Through traditional means one would have to find a language institute and hope that their course type and hours relate to their preferences. Most often these courses fail to meet these preferences due to burdens such as location and time. These institutes also often focus on grammar and vocabulary but in order to reach the level of fluent proficiency…

You need to connect to native speakers!

This is where Verbling comes in! Verbling is an online platform where language learners can take lessons with professional teachers to fit perfectly to their learning style. Verbling allows for a cheap, fast and convenient way to learn a new language, either through one-on-one classes or group classes.  Verbling empowers people all over the world to become fluent in a foreign language, and it doesn’t matter where you are located, teachers and students are spread out across six continents (About Verbling).

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How Does Verbling Work?

Verbling’s platform is easy to use. You simply browse through thousands of teacher profiles and bios. Book lessons with the best teachers for your schedule, budget, goals and learning style and log in to Verbling Video and start talking (About Verbling).

Lessons are taken place over video chat, so people can learn wherever they may find themselves and Verblings language teachers are available 24/7 covering all timezones globally. Convenient right? Within no time will you be able to go to Italy and order; “ Posso avere una pizza con prosciutto?” while impressing all your friends.
Next to the virtual lessens Verbling also provides flashcards  as an interactive tool for learning new vocabulary words. Your persnal teacher creates flashcards that you can use between lessons to drill and review, and the  deck of cards get more difficult the more you interact with it.

Lastly, Verbling allows for practice groups to practice your foreign language speaking skills with other students learning the same language (About Verbling).

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 23.22.02.pngEfficiency Criteria and Feasibility

Verbling is the online platform that offers everyone worldwide the access to learn a new language, whenever and wherever. The joint profitability criteria is met as the platform maximises the joint payoffs for both the consumer and the teacher. The consumers benefit from learning a new language with a customised lesson plan which perfectly meets their needs, thus eliminating the burden of time and locations of offline language institutes. Furthermore, consumers will be able to enjoy the interaction with other students worldwide who are also learning the same language and improve their new language skills on a whole new social level.

On the other side, the teachers benefit by earning money from teaching their language online, anytime, anywhere. Verbling offers teachers flexibility as they are able to teach in any capacity either full time, part-time, or occassionaly. Moreover, they are not bounded to their geographic location and through Verbling their customer segment can be expanded to every corner of the world. Lastly, teachers gain followers and are able to build a community while building their brand identity.

It’s a win-win situation!  

Verbling’s satisfies the feasibility of required reallocations criteria (Carson et al., 1999). However, the greatest risk for Verbling is the quality of the teachers.The quality of the teachers is insured by Verbling’s application process. Verbling vets applications from prospective teachers and has rigorous standards in order to be accepted, hence ensuring high instruction quality and limiting the quality threat. As a result, the average learner rating for a Verbling teacher is 4.9 out of 5.

All in all Verbling provides a new opportunity for people all over the world to broaden their horizon and learn a new language whenever and wherever they want through a flexible, social and interactive way.

Thank you, Gracias, Grazie, Merci, Arigato!

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“About Verbling”. Verbling. N.p., 2017. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.

Carson, S. J., Devinney, T. M., Dowling, G. R., & John, G. (1999). Understanding institutional designs within marketing value systems. Journal of Marketing, 115-130

The Impact of Timing and Product Portfolio of Recommendation Systems on Customer Satisfaction

It’s safe to say we have all bought something online. The web has become an important platform over the years for people to obtain information and shop. Why? It’s easy, you can shop whenever, wherever you want and all the information you need is in the product description. Because of rise of e-commerce, personalised recommendation was created to recommend products that meet consumers’ preferences, reduce cognitive efforts, improve user experience, and help purchasing decisions while prompting sales. We’ve all seen companies such as,, and, and even online supermarkets use these recommendation tools. By looking at their consumers browsing history, purchase history and comment history these companies can determine consumer behavioural preferences and recommend consumers the products that they may interest.

The paper written by Yan, Q. et al., looks at the decision-making process of consumers and analyses the mechanisms involved in consumers’ acceptance of these recommendations.  What makes the paper unique is its distinctive assessment of the personalised recommendation system by analysing it from two angles; the recommendation timing and product portfolio. Past papers looked at accuracy and efficiency of recommendation algorithms and their ways to reduce perceived risks, however according to Yan al, a good recommendation system does not only focus on accuracy but also on customer satisfaction which isn’t determined by accuracy. What does determine customer satisfaction is time.

How can time increase customer satisfaction? By recommending products at the right time with the right diversity. According to the preference inconsistency theory, there is a discrepancy of consideration sets in the first and second stage of the decision-making process. In the first stage, when users are browsing, for example for a new pair of jeans, consumers want a lot of choices while in the second stage, before users click submit for purchase, the focus is to minimise the difficulty in decision making and making the right decisions. Too much product choices will cause users cognitive overload, and lower consumer satisfaction. Hence, consumer preferences for recommended products vary in time and the recommended product portfolio and recommendation timing should be consistent with the consumers’ preferences, or it can cause a burden on consumers and decrease consumers’ satisfaction of the system!

What also affects consumer satisfaction is the difference in the type of products recommended in each stage. When consumers browse e-commerce sites, they tend to focus on their own needs and objectives and conduct search on the initial target product and products in the same category. Because consumers tend to focus more on similar products, similar products recommended by the system will be recommended. However, in the second stage, consumers have developed certain awareness and made choices regarding their target product, hence their focus easily moves to products complementary to the target product and consider purchasing other products that are not the target product!

Also, there is a difference in the acceptance of personalised recommendation between practical and hedonic products. Think about the difference of buying dental floss or buying a new television.  The motives for practical products include meeting basic needs and convenience while the motives for hedonic products is based by perceived fun and entertainment. Hence, consumers are likely to have different cognitive and emotional reactions when purchasing these different products. The research shows that consumers who have hedonic products in their consideration set are more susceptible to the systems product recommendations, compared to practical products!

The strength of the research is its further in-depth analysis of the various factors influencing recommendations on consumers. The study takes a different approach compared to past research papers and can be a theoretical basis for e-commerce companies in understanding consumers focus and behaviours at the different stages of the shopping journey. The meticulous understanding can be used to improve customer satisfaction by reducing the cognitive journey and ultimately increase sales! Recommendation systems based on accurate timing and product portfolio are a win-win situation for both the consumer and the retailer!


Tsekouras, D. (2017). Session 2: Personalization & Product Recommendations.

What every marketer should know about hedonic shoppers. (2017). [online] The Rooster Blog. Available at: [Accessed 10 Feb. 2017].

Yan, Q., Zhang, L., Li, Y., Wu, S., Sun, T., Wang, L. and Chen, H. (2016). Effects of product portfolios and recommendation timing in the efficiency of personalized recommendation. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 15(6), pp.516-526.