Outstanding examples of instrucitonal Flash or YouTube animations?
July 9, 2011 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Looking for outstanding examples of animations and videos that explain a difficult-to-understand concept or topic. Not KhanAcademy-type, but rather interactive Flash works or videos with 3D animation.

I'm looking for great examples of Web animations or YouTube videos that break down a topic for people with little or no knowledge of that topic.

I'm aware of KhanAcademy and the plethora of YouTube and podcast tutorials, but I'm thinking of Web sites that use Flash to explain a subject in a non-linear fashion, or videos that also combine 3D with voice over or an instructor.

So an example might be a Flash project that shows how a car engine works, and the user could click on the parts of the engine to see how it functions in the system.

Best of all would be works that do this kind of instruction in really novel ways that are beneficial for the user -- making it easier for them to understand rather than just making the experience new or pretty.

posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese to Education (12 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Straight video, but this multi-part tutorial for The Lord of the Rings Card Game really impressed me.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:55 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: How Differential Gear works (Reddit classic)

9 Great Engineering Animations
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:01 PM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I made a post of my collection along these lines of pretty molecular biology a little while ago.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:03 PM on July 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

interactivity is compulsory in what you are looking for, correct?
posted by blueshok at 4:34 PM on July 9, 2011

Imagining the 10th dimension (I refuse to link to it) mentioned above does NOT offer a correct explanation - it is very misleading.
posted by aroberge at 4:38 PM on July 9, 2011

Response by poster: interactivity is compulsory in what you are looking for, correct?

No, it's not compulsory. But if it's not interactive, I'm looking for examples that are more than a person talking with illustrations, unless those illustrations are really exceptional. That's totally subjective, I know! So if you think you have an example that's really good, please share it.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:36 PM on July 9, 2011

Best answer: The Virtual Cell Animation Collection
posted by Mercaptan at 9:19 PM on July 9, 2011

Okay, I've been looking for presentation options for various things myself these days, so I'll just mention one thing that may or may not prove helpful to you in this case: prezi.com (or similar).

I'm pointing it out because in the case of something like a car engine, you can have the entire engine as the "zoomed out" overview, and be able to zoom way in on even the smallest details, and each zoom-in can have as much explanatory material as you want while avoiding a static slideshow progression sort of thing. So viewers can ignore the bits they don't need to know about/already understand, and instantly access the focus areas that they want to spend more time on.

That's all just from my research, though; I have not tried it yet, and don't know what the drawbacks of this service may be... but users can try the free option to experiment and learn more, which is what I'm going to do when I have time.

Though not the exact sort of thing you are talking about, here's one example of a presentation that I think did a nice job, that I found linked in an earlier a Mefi post about Prezi.
posted by taz at 3:48 AM on July 10, 2011

This might seem out of place, but Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics (presented as a comic book) is the clearest explanation of ANYTHING I've ever seen, including some complex ideas about time in 2D space. It's a bit more than just "illustrations and text"—even though that's technically all it is—and it might be right up your alley.
posted by Brainy at 9:25 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! Blasdelb, that's a great collection!
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:22 PM on July 12, 2011

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