Learning tip: Lose the chairs

People walk on a snow-covered trail Wednesday, March, 7, 2007, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Here’s an idea: Instead of analyzing today’s newspaper with friends over coffee, take your discussion to the walking trail.

If a study at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, is on target, you’ll communicate with each other more effectively and feel better in the end.

The study was inspired by work done by Stanford researchers, which showed that walking boosts creativity. Associate professor in computer science Olle Balter decided to transfer that theory to his classes. He took students on “walking seminars” in a park near the Swedish campus.

He says the benefits were apparent from the start. Students were more willing to talk than in the classroom. And according to surveys he conducted afterward, all felt better after walking seminars compared with sitting seminars. Most said communication among students was better. And most also said they would like the option of taking other walking seminars.

If it works for computer science students discussing bits, bytes, megabytes and gigabytes, imagine how well it will work for friends discussing offshore drilling.