Pedagogical studies in virtual offshore safety training

Smith, Jennifer Joan Elizabeth (2020) Pedagogical studies in virtual offshore safety training. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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To better prepare the offshore workforce for emergencies, operators and regulators need to use evidence-based safety training. This research aims to provide such evidence by employing an experimental program to evaluate virtual environment (VE) training as a plausible means to enhance mandatory offshore egress training. Combining VE technology with a well-designed, pedagogically informed training program, and carefully selected data-mining tools, can support the development of trainee competence in emergencies by providing artificial experience in credible situations and tracking trainee performance throughout the VE training. Evidence from this research supports the use of VE training to address pedagogical gaps in the training. Key gaps include the following: 1) conventional training is predominantly provided by fixed-time instruction, which results in crews with nominal competence, 2) the frequency of recurrency training is not informed by evidence on crews’ susceptibility to forget training, 3) crews’ learning outcomes are not measured or monitored, which results in no information to assess training transfer, and 4) due to safety constraints, muster drills lack the realism of how emergency situations unfold in real life. Lessons from pedagogical theory and data-mining methodology were used to provide empirical and modeling evidence to inform offshore and maritime domains on the application of VE training. The scope of the research involved using the VE training as a human behaviour laboratory during a longitudinal study. The context of the study was to teach the necessary egress skills to evacuate a virtual oil platform during an emergency. To address the pedagogical gaps and evaluate VE training, this thesis is comprised of four research papers. The first paper investigates the influence of the simulation-based mastery learning (SBML) pedagogical framework on the development of competence at the different learning phases, specifically the acquisition, retention, and transfer of egress skills. The second paper uses human performance data from the VE training to develop a decision tree (DT) diagnostic tool to compare the efficacy of different delivery methods for VE training. The third paper evaluates the retention and maintenance of the VE training after a period of 6 to 9-months. The fourth paper uses DT modeling to evaluate skill transfer and develop a predictive tool to analyze the efficacy of VE training on a systemic level to support future adaptive training programs. The overall contribution of this research is the use of pedagogical frameworks and data-mining tools to improve the design, delivery, and assessment, of VE training. The concept of this work is established in the context of offshore and maritime safety, however the approaches are generalizable to many virtual training applications in other domains.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 14435
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: Virtual environment, offshore safety training, pedagogy, decision trees, skill acquisition, training retention, training transfer
Department(s): Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of
Date: January 2020
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Offshore structures--Employees--Training of; Offshore structures--Safety measures.

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