Utterly lost, unable to find any tutorial/documentation to cover what's next

Hello, this is my first post to this forum. If I’ve put this in the wrong place, would someone please direct me to the right area of the forum?

I made a simple animations (several actually) where I created a monkey’s head, and applied some colors to the mesh and so on, then moved it about and rotated it so the head turned to face the camera. I was able to play the animation back.

I would like to take the next obvious step, which is make it into a playable file. I have no idea whatsoever how that would be done. The book on fundamentals I’m looking at feels that this is so obvious it doesn’t need to be explained or something, because it doesn’t bother to say how to do it. After looking around Im stumped.

I understand that in theory there is an editor that allows you to break an animation into small parts and then loop it together. Unfortunately I don’t have any documentation on how you use such a thing, or how you would get to it from within the program. I looked at a lot of tutorials and absolutely none of them seem to feel the need to explain any of this. Is there any sort of documentation for that part anywhere? I’d be willing to buy the appropriate book, but it’s hard to figure out what I need.

At this point, I have a blend file with my simple set up, but i need to re-render the animation every time I reload the program.

I think what you are looking for is called the VSE. And you are correct, there is limited documentation about it. But a google of “blender vse tutorial” does result in a few good links. This one:

Seems to cover most of what you are looking for.

This should help you also
http://www.blenderguru.com/videos/rendering-animations/

Applying the KISS principle:

First, set your output directory. In the Properties window/Render panel there is an Outuput subpanel with the directory (/tmp by default) and the format (dropdowns). Click the folder icon to change the output directory (it’s actually C:/tmp on my Windows system) and pick a movie format such as MPEG.

Second, click the Animation button (next to the Render button) near the top of this Render Panel. Once you’ve finished rendering you’ll find your movie in the directory you set (or C:/tmp if you didn’t change it).