There seems to be much debate as to the different types of animation that there is, especially on the internet. The result is usually a reflection of the experience of the person writing the post, or what they like or are interested in.
Different types of animation are defined by the process of how they are made and the materials used in that process. The thing is that you can animate almost anything, and on top of that most films are made with a combination of techniques.
However in order to learn about animation you need to know what all the main types are, to develop an understanding of all the techniques you can call on to get the result you need. You may not want, or be able, to be an expert in every technique, but knowing how different animation is made will help you to work with others and know the most effective ways to make something. Likewise knowing what the key benefits are of each type will help you to refine your technique and approach to your own medium of choice. Along these lines, watching animated films that are a great example of these techniques in action will broaden your understanding of how each technique can best be used.
Here are some posts that will help you to understand the differences between different types of animation, and also the differences between different types of stop motion.
Posts on Clay Animation
This is a great way to get started with animation, and its very popular for both beginners and professionals. In fact it has been so popular that I have given it it’s own page.