A 2005 paper suggests that videogames are changing education and that games are more than a simple form of entertainment (Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005). It explains that student learning can be enhanced by experiences in vast virtual worlds. These worlds can allow students to interact as a community. Virtual worlds are useful “because they make it possible to develop situated understanding” (Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005, p. 106). This means that students are able to actually experience and experiment with the things that they are learning rather than simply being told them as facts or equations.
Some research concludes there is little evidence to suggest that interactive media enhances the learning experience (Schmidt & Vanderwater, 2008). Other sources have noted positive impacts on student performance. One study of a game relating to numerical analysis in an engineering curriculum found that “students experienced significantly more intellectual intensity, intrinsic motivation, positive affect and overall student engagement when completing homework” (Coller & Shernoff, 2009, p. 315). Research on the subject has been mixed, but it seems that video games can have a positive effect on learning when used in particular ways.