In past centuries constructivist ideas were not widely valued due to the perception that children's play was seen as aimless and of little importance. Jean Piaget did not agree with these traditional views, however. He saw play as an important and necessary part of the student's cognitive development and has provided scientific evidence for his views. Today, constructivist theories are influential throughout much of the so-called informal learning sector. One example is the Investigate Center at the Natural History Museum, London. Here visitors can engage in open ended investigations of real natural history specimens reaching towards self selected goals.

Some historical figures who influenced constructivism:

Giambattista Vico

Immanuel Kant 1724-1804

John Dewey

Jerome Bruner

Herbert Simon

Paul Watzlawick

Ernst von Glasersfeld

Edgar Morin

Some historical figures who influenced education:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who strongly influenced modern educational theory through his book Emile: Or, On Education

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