One effective use of animation is to explain difficult concepts through leveraging gestalt principles in a purposeful way: partner like concepts through color or diagrams; bring attention to main concepts, repetition and visual consistency in movement and shape or color; and through audio where music and sound effects support visual cues. Years ago an intern of mine working at NC State University developed an animation to explain how many of the learning tools at the university could be used together to support course delivery and brand, bringing cohesion to content for students. I came across this solution from the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK to explain a new plan to integrate their health systems. It reminded me of the animation my intern developed in communicating how very different parts of a whole worked together toward an effective solution. NHS also developed a print piece to pair with the animation and further support their caregivers in learning about this new plan:
Animation is a great solution for supporting learning about concepts and systems that may be complicated to explain through print alone. It is also a good solution for showing how things work (organic or inorgainic/man-made) when you cannot easily capture video to demonstrate them.