7 Questions With Author Brent A Anders
Brent A. Anders, Ph.D. is a nonfiction writer. His focus in on education having written multiple research articles, contributed to multiple chapters to different collaborative books on learning science, and has created several blog posts articles dealing with learning. The purpose of all of his writing is to help improve instruction and create a better educational experience for students.
Anders has recently come out with a new book that combines his civilian academic background (20 years working with professors as a media consultant, videographer, and instructional designer) with his military instructional experience (25 years in the U.S. Army and National Guard, currently serving as an international instructor with the rank of Sergeant Major). The book is called The Army Learning Concept, Army Learning Model: A Guide to Understanding and Implementation.
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How does a day in your author life look?
My field is in education, instructional methodologies and technologies (learning science). So, I devote a good amount of time (usually in the evenings) to learning about the newest aspects or implementations in the field. I read several different educational blogs and news outlets in order to stay current. As an example, while searching for information on how to improve one’s author network, I found this blog which has served as a wonderful resource that I continually learn from.
I do most of my writing in the early morning before my main job which is currently working with the U.S. Embassy in the country of Armenia. I am a Sergeant Major in the Kansas Army National Guard and am presently serving as a researcher and instructor as part of the State Partnership Program. It is extremely rewarding to be working internationally in the field of education.
When it’s warmer outside, I love to leave the city and spend the weekend out in the countryside. The country of Armenia is very mountainous, so the countryside is very beautiful with some amazing landscapes. By leaving the hustle and bustle of the big concrete city behind me, and being around more green scenery, I’m able to get a lot of writing done. The fresh air and being with family in a less digital environment helps to motivate me.
What were some major setbacks of this profession?
I’m sure the answer to this question is different for every author, but I think many of us have this feeling of making this wonderful creation and wanting others to see it, to really help them. Some write to help people by entertaining them, the hope for me is that I can help people by teaching them with the information in my book so that when they teach, students have a better educational experience. That is the overall goal; reaching that goal however isn’t the easiest thing to do.
The setback comes when a creation like a book isn’t instantly popular. It takes a lot of hard work, time, and dedication after the book is done to learn about and actually properly spread the word and market a book so that it can get proper exposure and finally get purchased and read. It isn’t as easy as simply posting a message on Facebook.
There is a lot more to it and one can either be depressed about it or seek out guidance and help from others who have gone through the process before you and are gracious enough to share their vast knowledge on the subject; for that I am very thankful to Esther Rabbit.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your journey?
I would tell myself to do a better job at journaling. I have done some, but I wish I would have done much more because it comes in so useful. Any special situation, small things as well as big things, should be written down and expanded upon, reflected on.
My book deals with implementing the Army Learning Model so I provide lots of examples taken from my past experiences. I was able to recall a bunch of good situations, but to have a detailed journal capturing not just the facts of the event, but my thoughts and feelings, would have served as a great reference and would have made it that much easier and richer of a book.
What would you do if you wouldn’t be writing?
That’s an interesting question. I can’t imagine not writing. Writing is an ongoing skill I’ve tried to develop throughout my entire life. I grew up in a bilingual home, so I had to learn to talk, read, and write in two different ways. Now, as an adult, I’m learning another language (Armenian) and trying to learn to write in yet another way.
Writing has been with me throughout my life and I’ve used writing for many different reasons. It served as a creative outlet when I was lonely so I turned to my mind which was full of fantasy and couldn’t be contained. Writing greatly helped me deal with traumatic experiences, especially after some highly stressful military courses like Army Ranger School.
It was a powerful tool in developing a relationship while courting my wife (so many emails, poems, and love letters). It helped sooth my bored and “sleepy but I don’t want to sleep” children by entertaining them with many adventures, and of course, it was a vital element needed in order to earn my Ph.D. I really can’t think of life itself without writing. It is an essential part of my being.
How do you manage to juggle life and writing?
I juggle life and writing by ensuring that I still take time to spend with the family. Writing is very important to me, but not as important as they are.
Sure, I’ll take my laptop with me to most places like the mall or a long outing, and when I inevitably get bored, I’ll work on my writing. It is important to have balance in one’s life, lest one gets consumed. Everything is a process and we have to realize that happiness isn’t a destination, its part of the journey.
What should readers expect from your next novel?
My next book will most likely focus on a continuation of my very first book which was part one in a series dealing with video for education. The first book in the series dealt with using video to enhance instruction presence to improve the developed educational environment (a powerful component for learning engagement and satisfaction for both online and face-to-face learning).
For the next book in that series I plan to focus and ways to easily create video for the classroom through a professor/instructor/trainer’s own cellphone as well as by developing projects for the students to create their own videos as part of the learning process, I’ll also address the issue of 360 video for use in virtual reality.
How do you imagine your target reader?
Well anyone who reads my books are beautiful and intelligent people (that’s a bit of marketing there). My target reader is anyone involved in training and education that works in instruction such as professors, facilitators, tutors, and trainers at all levels.
Anyone in academia, the military, or business that wants to discover how to harness the power of the Army Learning Model to improve learner motivation, interaction, critical thinking and experiential learning in order to have impactful, and memorable educational experiences.
Find Brent Anders here:
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