Offshore petroleum platforms present complex, time-sensitive situations that can make emergency evacuations difficult to manage. Virtual environments (VE) can train safety-critical tasks and help prepare personnel to respond to real-world offshore emergencies. Before industries can adopt VE training, its utility must be established to ensure the technology provides effective training. This paper presents the results of two experiments that investigated the training utility of VE training. The experiments focused particularly on determining the most appropriate method to deliver offshore emergency egress training using a virtual environment. The first experiment used lecture-based teaching (LBT). The second experiment investigated the utility of a simulation-based mastery learning (SBML) pedagogical method from the medical field to address offshore emergency egress training. Both training programs (LBT and SBML) were used to train naïve participants in basic onboard familiarization and emergency evacuation procedures. This paper discusses the training efficacy of the SBML method in this context and compares the results of the SBML experimental study to the results of the LBT training experiment. Efficacy of the training methods is measured by a combination of time spent training and performance achieved by each of the training groups. Results show that the SBML approach to VE training was more time effective and produced better performance in the emergency scenarios. SBML training can help address individual variability in competence. Limitations to the SBML training are discussed and recommendations to improve the delivery of SBML training are presented. Overall, the results indicate that employing SBML training in industry can improve human reliability during emergencies through increased competence and compliance.

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