Perspect Nurs Sci.  2016 Apr;13(1):29-35. 10.16952/pns.2016.13.1.29.

The Effect of Problem Based Learning on Nursing Students' Interaction and Self-directed Learning: A Social Network Analysis

  • 1Department of Nursing, Cheju Halla University, Jeju, Korea.
  • 2College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


This study aimed to explore the underlying structures of students' interaction networks to monitor network changes during the year, to verify the relationship with self-directed learning, and to identify the effect of problem-based learning on interaction and self-directed learning.
A longitudinal study was designed which included 3 parts (A=25, B=27, C=26) with a total of 78 second-year nursing students from 2013 to 2014. Interaction indicators used group network centralization and density, and individual in-degree centrality.
Group network centralization showed mean reversion patterns, however, centralization and density showed a slight increase from 2013 to 2014 (Centralization of A part from 52.78 to 36.96, B part from 20.56 to 32.20, C part from 34.40 to 37.24; Density of A part from 0.122 to 0.123, B part from 0.111 to 0.121, C part from 0.109 to 0.121). The individual in-degree centrality is significantly correlated with self-directed learning and the correlation coefficient increased during the year (r=.274 in 2013, r=.356 in 2014, p<.001).
Students share information more interactively during the year and the more they share the higher the scores of self-directed learning.


Problem-based learning; Social network analysis; Self-directed learning; Social network centrality

MeSH Terms

Longitudinal Studies
Problem-Based Learning*
Students, Nursing


  • Figure 1. Study interaction network sociogram (Class A)

  • Figure 2. Study interaction network sociogram (Class B).

  • Figure 3. Study interaction network sociogram (Class C)


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