No More Best Practices

Those of us engaged in e-Education have a difficult time using various terms and words consistently and accurately. Therefore, we have a Best Practices Highway Sign - Next Exithard time communicating with others and they have a hard time understanding what the heck we’re talking about.

My term for today is “best practices.” It sort of makes me crazy every time I hear this because the practices are not always very good, let alone the BEST!! “Best practices” seems to be very egotistical and most likely just dead wrong. During many of my presentations I’ve made a remark something like this: “Every time I hear the phrase ‘best practices,’ I flip a little switch in my brain that converts the phrase into ‘practices that don’t totally suck out loud.’” That’s very different from “best,” and certainly more accurate.

Unfortunately, some people don’t like it when I use my favorite word (suck), so I’ve been trying to curb that urge.  For a while I found myself saying “good practices,” but that also bugs me, although a bit less than “best.” I always feel as though I’m comparing appliances at Sears – Good, Better, Best (I have no idea if they still do that, but they did about 40 years ago).

From this point forward, I am going to try to use the term “effective practices.” Unless, of course, the practices haven’t been effective and Best Practices Road Sign - Turn Around, you missed them completely.then I’ll call them something else. Effective practices sends me the message that these practices or methods have been tried and been found to be useful or worthwhile. Doesn’t say they’re the most effective; just that they have been at least somewhat effective. Also indicates that there can be several different practices that are effective, but there should only be ONE best – and I doubt that anyone has discovered that one just yet. Especially in an emerging field such as e-Education. But just in case you are the best, and you’ve discovered the best practice: More Power to Ya!!

Now let’s continue to document, to share, and to celebrate our effective practices.

(Graphics are my own. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.)