Popular online computer games like World of Warcraft and Second Life can be used as a powerful tool for educating children, say scientists.
The researchers believe that these video games can be used to teach science-based subjects where students are able to carry out imaginary experiments and improve their ability to "learn to learn".
Moreover the "immersive" aspect of the interactive games means that the brain is particularly engaged and can absorb complex issues.
These games can teach students practical skills that can be used in real life.
"Compared with a similar, paper-based curriculum that included laboratory experiences, students overall were more engaged in the immersive interface and learned as much or more," the Telegraph quoted Professor Chris Dede, an academic in Learning technologies at Harvard University as writing in the journal Science.
Games like Whyville and the ecology game River City have already been developed specifically to teach children.
The researchers suggest that much like "flight simulators" they are so "real" that many life skills can be learned from them. Dr Merrilea Mayo, director of Future Learning systems at the Kaufman Foundation, said the games can help bridge the gap between under and over-achieving children.
"Unlike lectures, games can be adapted to the pace of the user," she said. "Games also simultaneously present information in multiple visual and auditory modes, which capitalises on different learning styles.
"Although the field is still in its embryonic stages, game-based learning has the potential to deliver science and maths education to millions of users simultaneously.
"Unlike other mass-media experiments in education (e.g., TV), games are a highly interactive," she added.