Chapter Connections

Welcome to Chapter Connections, your Community Hub for everything related to our Chapter's journey. More than just a space for reading, it's where you'll find the heartbeat of our community—connecting you to the insights, stories, and opportunities that empower your professional development.

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  • 05/31/2024 10:38 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    One of the participants in last night’s Practicing Prompts session asked about  We’d been so focused on using our existing source material to create the structure of the course that we didn’t get into Perplexity’s wheelhouse.  Let’s explore that (briefly) here: is designed for gathering the information that we can use for other content, such as our Writing Proposals course.  For example: we have an objective: “Incorporate relevant graphics and charts into the proposal to enhance understanding and engagement.”

    A clipart of a telescope. Readers may skip words, but they will not skip images.

    When I review my source material, I find a section that states: “Graphics are a powerful way to convey ideas and focus the reader’s attention.”  From there, it discusses selecting clipart or photos that show “some creative association with the associated text” such as a clipart image of a telescope as a metaphor for focus.

    Bearing in mind that this source material was written in 2002.

    I believe that this section could benefit with some more thought. Let me turn to Perplexity to see if there are any studies or recent references that will help us better relate how to include graphics into our proposals.

    Where we may use a framework to design our prompts in ChatGPT or Gemini, I’m more comfortable asking Perplexity a starting question.  Perplexity will prompt me to ask a follow-up question if I’m not finding the resources I want.  I will state the role and use my source content to help structure my question.

    Here’s where Perplexity shines:  It provides ideas to explore, and links to the content where it found those ideas, thus providing me with a starting point and a path for further exploration of the topic.

    Right below the question, you can see a grouping of five sources. Select one of those boxes, you'll be directed to the site in question.  

    Review Perplexity's answers, and you will see links to the article that the system is referencing.  For example, I'm able to open the "openasset" article to learn more about their ideas for Representing Data Visually.  That's not a bad article (despite their application of the 80/20/10 myth*) and one that did not appear in the results when I conducted a Google Search for "Selecting Proposal Graphics."

    In essence, Perplexity is more of a search engine than a generative tool, albeit one that is capable of composing conclusions based upon the information it finds.  I tend to appreciate its guidance; it is a great resource for helping me identify what I don’t know and pointing me down the path to learn more.

    Case in point.

    *Ask "Is it true that we remember 80% of what we see, 20% of what we read, and 10% of what we hear? What studies show these statistics?"  Share what you find in the comments.

  • 05/17/2024 8:08 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Are you an experienced training professional looking to take your skills to the next level? If so, you're not alone. Many “subject-matter expert” trainers have found themselves in your shoes - eager to grow, but unsure of the path forward. The training and development field is evolving rapidly, and those who are willing to learn, adapt, and innovate will be the ones to lead the charge.

    That's where the "Total Trainer" workshop series comes in. You'll gain the skills to assess existing programs, create dynamic new initiatives, and make a lasting impact in your organization. This is more than just skill-building; it's about evolving into a true performance consultant who drives change and inspires excellence.

    Image by freepik

    Wherever you are in your journey, "Total Trainer" is designed to help you evolve and excel. This transformative program will empower you to:

    • Move toward performance consulting, making a tangible difference in your organization
    • Develop mastery in training models, concepts, and best practices
    • Practice your skills in a safe environment with real clients

    Let's explore how "Total Trainer" helps you achieve these three key goals:

    Move Toward Performance Consulting

    Performance consulting is more than just delivering training; it's about identifying and solving performance issues within organizations. "Total Trainer" equips you with the tools and knowledge to excel in this role.

    You'll dive into the essence of performance consulting. You'll learn how to identify the root causes of performance problems, suggest and implement effective solutions, and transition from merely delivering training to solving critical organizational issues. This approach will elevate your role from an order-taker to a strategic consultant.

    To solidify your learning, you'll engage in scenario activities that mimic real-life consulting situations. For instance, you'll practice using performance consulting questions to determine the actual needs of a client, such as whether team-building training is genuinely necessary. These activities prepare you to apply consulting skills confidently and effectively in your professional role​​.

    Develop Skills to Apply Various Training Models, Concepts, and Best Practices

    "Total Trainer" ensures that you are well-versed in a variety of training models and best practices, enabling you to design and deliver effective training programs.

    Beginning with the first day of Creating Training, you'll be introduced to the key components of effective training initiatives. You'll learn to create a learning journey that includes pre-event, intersession, and follow-up activities, ensuring that training is not only delivered but also effectively reinforced​​.

    From there you'll focus on planning for implementation — a critical phase often overlooked. You'll learn to identify implementation needs, create detailed plans, and use checklists to manage risks. This ensures that your training initiatives achieve their goals and deliver lasting impact​​.

    Our second workshop offers hands-on experience with various instructional methods and lesson plan structures. You'll explore different models like Gagne’s 9 Instructional Events and the 5 Es Model​​.

    You will evaluate and choose the right training modalities for your programs, from Instructor-Led Training (ILT) and Virtual Instructor-Led Training (vILT) to asynchronous and blended learning. This comprehensive understanding allows you to tailor your training to best meet your audience's needs​​.

    Practice My Skills in a Safe Environment with a Real Client

    One of the standout features of "Total Trainer" is the opportunity to practice your skills in a supportive, real-world environment.

    Throughout the modules, you'll participate in interactive breakout activities. These exercises offer a supportive environment to design and refine lesson plans, develop training content, and practice performance consulting techniques. You'll work on real-world scenarios and collaborate with peers, ensuring you gain the confidence and practical experience needed to excel​​​​.

    Finally, you'll engage in group work to develop and test training initiatives using iterative tools. This collaborative environment allows you to receive constructive feedback from peers and facilitators, ensuring continuous improvement and mastery of your skills​​.

    Modules like the performance consulting scenarios provide simulated client interactions. These scenarios prepare you to handle real client situations effectively, ensuring that you can transfer your learning to your professional practice seamlessly​​.

    Join "Total Trainer" and Transform Your Career

    This is more than just another train-the-trainer workshop. It's an opportunity to engage in a supportive, collaborative environment where you can practice your newfound abilities with real clients. Imagine the confidence you'll feel putting these lessons into action, and the satisfaction of knowing you're elevating the field of learning and development.

    Don't miss this opportunity to enhance your professional capabilities and make a significant impact in your organization. Sign up for "Total Trainer" today and start your journey towards becoming a top-tier training and development professional.

  • 05/09/2024 10:20 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    I took a learning styles quiz today.  The results: “it depends.” 

    Which is probably the most accurate result one can get from a learning styles quiz.  Why?

    Visual/Auditory/Kinesthetic(VAK) learning styles is a flawed hypothesis that is not backed by solid research in the L&D field.

    Yet the idea that learners have a preferred style of learning, and that we should incorporate those styles into our instructional design, perpetuates the industry.  A 2017 survey conducted by the Center for American Progress found that close to 90 percent of responders “indicated that students should receive information in their own learning style.”  Why?

    The concept of learning styles can be traced back decades, but current research on the topic points to Kolb’s Learning Styles Inventory.  However, the LSI classified individuals into four types — divergers, assimilators, convergers, accommodators — based on where they fall along a concrete/abstract continuum and a reflective/active continuum. 

    How did the LSI evolve to auditory/visual/kinesthetic learning styles? In a 2008 study: Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence, authors analyze how the concept of one’s learning style has been validated using an “existence of study preferences.”  In other words, people participating in the study volunteered preferences about their preferred mode of taking in new information and studying. When we attempt to figure out how to do something new, do we prefer to watch YouTube videos? Listen to podcasts?  Read instruction manuals? 

    The Concepts and Evidence study finds that there is little evidence that one’s preference for how we prefer to receive information is related to an individual’s ability to master the skill. 

    Other reports challenge the learning style approach to instructional design. In an Educational Psychology article titled: Kolb’s learning styles and learning preferences: is there a linkage?  The author states: “It is suggested that large individual differences in learning preferences within each style and type, and small differences in learning preference mean scores show that, overall, there are weak linkages between learning styles and learning preferences.” 

    Subsequent studies have continued to challenge the efficacy of VAK learning styles.  

     Report  Conclusion
    Matching learning style to instructional method: Effects on comprehension (2015) Results failed to show a statistically significant relationship between learning style preference (auditory, visual word) and learning aptitude (listening comprehension, reading comprehension).
    The Learning Styles Educational Neuromyth: Lack of Agreement Between Teachers’ Judgments, Self-Assessment, and Students’ Intelligence (2018) No relationship was found between pupils' self-assessment and teachers' assessment, suggesting that teachers cannot assess the LS of their students accurately. Moreover, students' intelligence was not found to drive teachers' assessment of their LS.
    Providing Instruction Based on Students’ Learning Style Preferences Does Not Improve Learning (2020) Examination of the extent to which learning style predicts comprehension and retention based on mode of instruction found results failed to find a significant relationship between auditory or visual learning style preference and comprehension.

    Perhaps equally telling is this paragraph at the bottom of a Learning Styles Inventory quiz found on the Middlesex Community College website: “However, a valuable goal to set for yourself is to strive to integrate all of the modalities into your learning process; therefore, try using several of the strategies for your weaker modalities as well. As you will also notice, some learning strategies will incorporate more than one modality. Multisensory learning strategies have the capability of strengthening your memory even more.”

    What to do? 

    Understanding learning strategies requires recognizing the complexity of how people learn rather than oversimplifying it into distinct learning styles. Research shows that it's not the preferred mode of information delivery that matters most, but rather how learners engage and apply the material. To enhance retention, it's crucial to integrate varied content—such as text, images, and audio—with interactive elements like quizzes, simulations, and real-world challenges. These tools encourage active learning and ensure that learners can practice and master new skills effectively.

    image by Freepik

    But perhaps more importantly, it’s time to reconsider how we define learning styles.

    The ATD Training Basics Infoline, “Training and Learning Styles” gives some credence to the myth that learners have a primary “perceptual modality” that needs to be considered when designing training but redeems itself by referring to a Jacobs/Schneider-Fuhrman study that identified companion learner-trainer styles.  Their learner styles were:

    • Dependent

    • Collaborative

    • Independent

    And they acknowledged that a person’s learning style may change in response to their situation. Learners may have a more dependent style when they are new to a course or work situation. They’ll develop a collaborative style once they have some knowledge in a subject matter and become independent learners once they have successful experiences in working through new situations alone.

    The trainer role changes based upon the learner style. A trainer may fill the role of an authority or an expert for the dependent learner, but an environment setter for the collaborator or a facilitator for the independent learner. The trainer may lecture or demonstrate, test and reinforce when working with dependent learners, but question and model and provide resources and feedback for collaborative and independent learners.

    These learning styles avoid stereotypical perceptions of our learners and open ourselves to approaching them based upon where they are in their learner journey.  Which should go much further to enhance learner engagement than the modality used to present the information.

    Share this article the next time you hear someone advocate for VAK learning styles!

  • 05/01/2024 4:29 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    "This is part therapy. #validation," typed one participant during last week's Learning Event titled "Strategies for Better Engaging Learners."

    She was referring to Dr. Bob Nelson's passion for positive reinforcement and his findings that recognition in the workplace is more important than ever.

    "Employees are reporting that they are working harder than before, but feel less valued," Dr. Nelson declared.  He stressed the value of engaged employees, pointing out that they deliver 57% more effort than unengaged employees.

    The Power of Positive Reinforcement

    Dr. Nelson defined recognition as "acknowledging and appreciating people for their achievements."  He noted that today, 99.4% of employees expect to be recognized when they do good work, but only 12% of employees feel they are recognized in important ways.  The company picnic and snack box gifts are nice, but they aren't necessarily considered recognition because they aren't in response to specific work performed by a specific employee.

    From there, Dr. Nelson shared some examples of powerful positive reinforcement that he had uncovered in his years of research in this field.

    "I'm going to try the Thank You note activity," Jason Dreyer said. He believes it will be "a great way to incorporate some gratitude into our meetings. Our leadership team is about 50% newer people, so we're still learning to work with each other. Sharing 'thank yous' would help people feel appreciated and seen for their contributions."

    Applying Positive Reinforcement to Training and Development

    How can these concepts apply to our role in training and development?  Dr. Nelson shared a few ways to apply positive reinforcement techniques throughout a class.

    One example Dr. Nelson shared: “If you break into groups you can have a competition just for the training on who did the activity best and you can have something you can give them and it can be a revolving trophy to move on after that person.” 

    This idea sparked a memory from another participant. “When I was a teacher,” he shared in chat. “We had a weekly shout out where people would hand over a bowling pin for who was the "rock star" of the week. Every week the holder of the pin would nominate another "rock star" and so on.”

    The end of the session was filled with participant-shared examples of how they have used or experienced positive reinforcement, either in the workplace or in the training rooms.  Which, in itself, was another form of therapy.

    “I'm an L&D team of one,” explained Jason Dreyer. “So connecting with other L&D professionals helps me stay connected to my field of choice and see that I'm not alone in what I'm doing.”

  • 04/21/2024 6:38 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    We are thrilled to announce James Skee as our Volunteer of the Spring 2024 Quarter! James has served as a Certification Manager in the Multi-Chapter CPTD Study Group, helping to prepare our members to site for the CPTD exam.  In addition, he’s served on the Chapter Finance Committee since 2023, where he is developing visualizations to help the finance team clearly communicate the Chapter’s financial health. 

    A Director of Learning & Development at NexusTek – a Managed Services Provider focusing on the mid-size market in North America – James chose to volunteer with ATD-OC not only to “give back to the Talent Development community, but also to apply the principles of L&D.” He views volunteering as a practical arena to leverage and expand his skills beyond his full-time role, embodying the true spirit of learning through service.

    Connect with James at an upcoming Learning Event to explore how you can also invest in yourself and grow within our community. Or perhaps be inspired to follow a similar path of volunteerism and professional growth in our own journeys.

    James D. Skee is Director of Learning & Development at NexusTek, a Managed Services Provider focusing on the mid-size market in North America. Prior to joining NexusTek in 2018, he worked for 10 years in higher ed and secondary education, and 12 years in Information Technology. James has taught courses in History of Business, History of Science, and Science, Technology & Society (STS) at UC Berkeley and Hult International Business School. He earned both his MA and PhD at UC Berkeley.

  • 04/11/2024 4:42 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    In an ATD article titled: Beyond Gamification, professor Karl M. Kapp suggested that gamification might not be a solution for building employee engagement. 

    “Many gamification efforts focus on cute characters, meaningless point systems, and leaderboards, which only the top 10 people care about,” writes Dr. Kapp. “Unless gamification is part of a larger strategy or a more focused effort, it will not have the success an organization hopes to achieve in terms of employee engagement.”

    Jonathan Peters, Ph.D., would agree. He peppered the start of his webinar: “The Four ‘Levels’ of Gamification Implementation in Learning Experiences” with a few game mechanics: the opportunity to collect badges, a chance to win a gamification surveyor certification workshop, and a chance to lose the previous opportunity if you don’t have enough badges.  Then he asked us to think about the experience.  How long would he have been able to motivate us and keep us motivated?

    The majority of participants were motivated up until we had earned three badges, which was the threshold for qualifying for the workshop registration. 

    If badges and points and leaderboards is all we have when it comes to gamification, he informed us during a Gamification of Learning webinar, “We can expect that we won’t get results over time.  It might make something more interesting, and it feels fun, but what we know from the research is that it doesn’t last over time.”

    Badges and points and leaderboards provide a cosmetic level of gamification, Dr. Peters shared. These game mechanics have no impact to the course and are easily ignored once the learners figure out how to game the system.

    The higher levels of gamification are:


    Helps the learning happen by gamifying an element of learning so people can pass a test.


    The game becomes part of the experience.  There is no separation from the material and the gamification elements.


    The gamification elements become the “raison d’etre” of learning. 

    To reach that immersive level, Dr. Peters shares a 30 point path that incorporates deliberate, purposeful consideration of game mechanics to ensure the resulting product doesn’t feel superficial or meaningless, but rather guides the learners towards achieving a mutual objective.

    And of course, they lay out those steps in a game format.

    Dr. Peters will walk you through this path during next month’s Gamification Certification workshop.  This program is like no conference or workshop you’ve attended. The Sententia Gamification LIVE Certification is a complete immersion experience designed to leave you creatively inspired and technically masterful.

    Learn More About Our Upcoming Workshop:

    Gamification Certification: A Learning and Design Adventure Through the Fundamentals of Gamification for Learning

  • 04/09/2024 10:14 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    "If you’ve ever been pitted against colleagues during corporate online training or started a new job where the health and safety compliance course involved quiz questions to progress through a series of levels, then you’re familiar with gamification. Gartner has defined gamification as “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.” In other words, gamification uses gaming elements in a nongame context, which could be any situation where engaging people with an instructive process is necessary. Examples include recruitment, company inductions, brand loyalty schemes—or e-learning."

    Read the complete article: Gamification in E-Learning: How Does It Work? at (

    We've got a full-day workshop on gamification the first Saturday of May.

  • 04/07/2024 12:29 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    The California Young Professionals Special Interest Group is a collaborative community of young learning and talent development professionals from the ATD Los Angeles, ATD Orange County, ATD San Diego, and ATD Golden Gate Chapters. This SIG is co-led by Jessica Del Rosario Dent, a learning and talent development professional with experience in both corporate and higher education.  We asked Jessica a few questions about her journey to becoming the leader of this group.

    What personal experiences or beliefs drive your passion for the group's focus?

    Jessica: When I was attempting to enter into the corporate learning and talent development space, I often heard from recruiters that the companies I applied to were seeking candidates with "more experience" than I had. Ironically, gaining "more experience" becomes a challenge when companies are reluctant to hire you due to a perceived lack of it. This dilemma is a common concern for many young professionals or those aiming to shift their career paths.

    This experience motivated me to create an environment that nurtures growth, encourages the sharing of knowledge, and supports the professional development of its members, all while addressing the challenge of gaining the necessary experience to advance in our chosen careers.

    How do you foster a sense of community and collaboration among SIG members, especially when addressing unique challenges of leading a multi-chapter SIG?

    Jessica:  It’s all about creating opportunities for authentic connections.

    In our events, we prioritize intentional networking by encouraging thoughtful discussions and fun personal questions, aiming to make connections meaningful. Attendees are urged to stay in touch via LinkedIn, fostering professional relationships beyond the event. 

    Similarly, as representatives, our collaboration is both deliberate and proactive. Recognizing that everyone has busy schedules, celebrates life events, or life just happens, it's essential to be understanding, while also remaining flexible. Beyond our professional collaborations, we value our personal connections by sharing moments from our lives through photos, Instagram, or casual texts. I believe successful collaboration is more likely when you understand your team members as whole individuals.

    Can you share a moment or event during your SIG leadership that profoundly impacted you or the group’s direction?

    Jessica:  The moment that significantly impacted our group's direction occurred when we changed our name from Southern California Young Professionals to California Young Professionals. This change was largely due to an amazing colleague of mine, Remy Biglow from ATD-Golden Gate, who spearheaded the effort to expand our group. It’s so exciting to create these connections with other L&D professionals across the state!

    How has leading this group influenced your perspective on the Learning and Development profession and your personal goals?

    Jessica:  Leading this group has deepened my appreciation for diverse insights, broadening my perspective on the L&D profession and significantly influencing my career path. It has highlighted the importance of empathy and considering multiple viewpoints in professional growth, underlining my commitment to continuous learning and strategic thinking in my career choices.

    How do you measure the success of your SIG?

    Jessica:  A way to measure success for our SIG would be through the growth and social media interactions from members across all our chapters, as any progress in these areas is a step in the right direction.

    What goals do you have for your SIG's future?

    Jessica:  I am eager to expand our social media presence. Being a multi-chapter SIG offers us many opportunities to enhance our reach and impact. This will allow us to connect with a more diverse audience, share our insights, activities, and achievements across a wider platform, foster a stronger community, and encourage more engagement from members and potential members.

    Explore what the California Young Professionals SIG has to offer you!

    View Jessica Del Rosario Dent's member profile.

  • 04/05/2024 1:06 AM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    We’re driven by the transformative power of knowledge sharing and community engagement. So it’s not enough to host an event for our members; we want to capture the essence of our meetings and document it so others might catch a glimpse of the insights and ideas their peers received.  We’re looking for a person to fill a role which we could call “Writer,” but are thinking of calling: “Chapter Correspondent,” or “Event Historian.” 

    We're looking for:

    •  Someone who can capture the key points/takeaways from our events and share them with our community 

    •  Someone who will determine how our members benefitted from an event and share those ideas with our community

    In this role, you will explore how our events catalyze personal and professional growth. You’ll highlight the journey of our members from learners to leaders. 

    What Skills You Will Develop and Enhance


    • Skill in conceiving, developing, and delivering information in various formats and media, for example reports, briefings, memorandums, presentations, articles, and emails.

    • Skill in using communication strategies that inform and influence audiences.

    • Skill in expressing thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a clear, concise, and compelling manner.

    Lifelong Learning

    • Knowledge of resources for career exploration and lifelong learning for self and others.

    (Do these skills sound familiar? They should. They're directly linked to ATD’s capabilities model.)

    Here are some examples of previous articles.

    Future articles don’t need to be exactly like these.  Those were created by one person, with their own style. You will be encouraged to write in your own recognizable voice and let it grow. 

    If you are interested in developing your written voice or are motivated by the opportunity to make a significant impact through your writing and storytelling, we warmly invite you to join our team as... 

    “Chapter Correspondent?” 

    “Event Historian?” 

    We’ll let you decide.

    Fill out a Volunteer Interest Form or just email your interest at

  • 03/31/2024 3:03 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

    Contributing Author: Kim-Khue Chieffo

    Kim Hayashi began her session: Designing and Facilitating High Impact Custom Learning & Development Programs by having us consider what we focus on when first creating a training program:

    1. Effective timing or effective methods?
    2. Getting to know the audience, or ensuring everyone learns all the pertinent information?
    3. Using great content, or great facilitation?

    The consensus was: it depends.

    Kim didn’t necessarily disagree with any of the insights we shared in response to her questions, but she did challenge us to consider a different perspective about content.

    “There are three types of content,” Kim shared. “There’s content that’s a good fit for your audience, content that is a bad fit, and content that they’ve heard before.” Each type of content creates a different attitude in our audience.

    How do we choose the right content?

    We ask questions.

    Kim backed up her approach with a bit of instructional design science:

    • Acknowledge Risk — Design to build trust and create the right environment to manage your audience’s perception of risk so they are mentally, physically, and emotionally able to continue learning with you.
    • Apply the Group Development Model — Identify which stage the class might be in. Storming? Forming? How do you get them to Norming, where they can begin to assimilate the skills and techniques you are sharing?
    • Consider Both The Developed Self and the Core Self — Kim acknowledges that most people attending a learning event will be displaying their developed self - the one that is trained to come to work and look and be successful. But she challenges us to consider the underlying values that our learners may have which influence their developed self and find ways to design with those values in mind.

    With these disciplines in mind, the great facilitator will keep the audience at the forefront of everything talent development related. Here, Kim recalled the discussion at the start of the session: we may not always have the opportunity to know our audience in advance. Taking a few minutes at the beginning of training for question-based activities to help us assess our audience is key.

    She demonstrated this, by the way, not by producing a poll in which we recited the length of our training careers or the type of training we design, but by asking us to state three to five words that represent how we facilitate.

    In doing so, she acknowledged that we all were skilled and experienced at what we do (of course! We’re ATD-OC!). Within the first ten minutes of an already active session, Kim had mentally adjusted how much of the science she would introduce and how much of the meat of the matter she would discuss.
    This had immediate results: we wanted to hear what she had to say.

    By facilitating around the needs of your audience, you create immediate impact.

    Which is what we want in our classes.

    We want our audience to do three things with the content we provide them:

    We want them to hear the content.

    We want them to want the content.

    We want them to use the content.

    By ensuring that the audience feels as though they belong in your class, they will want to hear the content, and they will want the content. From there, it’s up to our facilitation skills to want them to use the content.

    For Kim, low-impact content can be fixed. An agenda can be changed on the fly. But facilitation? Bad facilitation can ruin even the greatest content.

    For Kim, high-impact content requires a great facilitator who knows where the audience is in order to be effective.

    For Kim, high-impact content requires starting with the people.

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