Background: This study aims to integrate the theories of social presence and social identity to examine the effectiveness of group-based problem-based learning (PBL) in learning communities. Social presence is a critical factor in determining the success of collaborative learning in group-based PBL activities. Although several studies have investigated the effects of using self-directed and collaborative learning, they present weak evidence within those studies to explain the impact of social interaction on perceived PBL performance in nursing internship programs. Objectives: This study develops a second-order formative model to examine the relationship between social presence, trust, social identification and students' perceived PBL performance. Methods: The partial least squares technique is used to analyse data from 409 nursing interns who studied at seven medical universities or nursing colleges. Results and Conclusions: The results indicate that all hypotheses are supported, which is an underaddressed topic in the nursing internship education literature. Notably, the findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of the interns' perceived PBL performance during the internship.
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