Learning about gears is much easier in a group setting. Anyone who suffered through a tough high school or university class without study buddies will appreciate the value of having people around to compare notes with. Parents or older siblings with experience with a subject were the secret weapons for some curve wreckers.
If possible, try to find a mentor who will monitor your progress and give you the extra tutoring needed to master some of the more confusing tasks. Gearing is a very broad and complex field that can fascinate you for a lifetime or frustrate you instantly. For many the difference is the people you encounter along the way.
We live in a time when some folks think they can master anything by watching a few online videos. The credentials behind those videos are seldom vetted; one has to wonder about health and safety when viewers “drink the Kool-Aid” and ignore the science.
At Gear Technology we pride ourselves on peer-reviewed content. Our volunteer technical editors are industry veterans with many successful projects behind them. Our trade is very complicated, so it is not unheard of for the experts to have differences in opinion — but those differences are typically a matter of nuance, not fundamental principles.
For entry-level gear students it is not essential that detailed knowledge of tooth modifications, for example, be understood immediately. Master the fundamentals first and worry about the nuances later. Many of the technical papers we publish are aimed at the experienced gear designer or quality analyst. They will be waiting in our online archive for your study when you need them.
Mastery will be achieved sooner if you have people to study with and a “veteran” to get you back on track if your wander off.