I have been an Adobe CC subscriber for a long time. Just recently, I have discovered After Effects which has encouraged me to get back into video editing for social media. I have two questions: 1). Is there a recommended learning path for After Effects? I have found some detailed classes on Linked-in Learning but I am still having the hardest time completing any task. I have mainly tried to animate titles designed in Illustrator. Maybe I am trying to advance too quickly. I thought basic title reveals would be easier. I just discovered motion templates. It is a little better, but templates don't come with instructions. 2). I have apparently pushed my hardware and software to the limits. I edit on a two-year-old Macbook Pro with 16 GB OF RAM. My computer is running so slow now that I find more frustration in that I can move clip edits forward. I should have led with the disclosure that I am not technically inclined. I thought I had insulated myself by investing in cloud storage. If you have recommendations that will help, I would appreciate the advice. Btw, I love this stuff!
Freeze or hang
User interface or workspaces
Impossible to say much without any specific info about things like hardware acceleration, multiframe rendering and cache settings. AE could simply be overzealous and cache itself to death with every tiny change you make based on your configuration. Similarly, since AI uses hardware accelerated rendering itself there could be any number of issue on that front plus the simple fact that artwork not designed to spec like e.g. a huge 300 DPI graphic with raster effects liek drop shadows, gradients or blends will still take its sweet time to process even on the best computer. Either way, even if you are "not technically inclined" you can't avoid checking these things and spending time learning some fundamentals. Rather than blindly following tutorials that may leave out a good chunk of this basic stuff, start by reading the online help to get a feeler for how AE actually works. Many things aren't intuitive and quite different from AI and PS.
Templates can be a very frustrating learning experience in my opinion. They do produce amazing looking results (because it's someone else's artistry) but a lot of the time the "clever" bit will be pre-rendered to prevent you from adapting it. Other elements will be locked and as you say, nothing is explained.
As someone who makes tutorials on YouTube (and feel free to discount this because of that fact), I think the best way to learn is through YouTube tutorials - working out which ones are good verses bad is very much trial and error though. Video Copilot's Andrew Kramer is an excellent teacher. He's not making so much now, but his early work are all great starting points. And almost all only use the native After Effects. And because they are all older, your computer should be able to handle them.
One thing that might be causing you issues is your graphics card. Try going to File > Project Settings and setting the software to use Software Only. If you notice a difference, then make sure your graphics drivers are up to date. Then set up a dedicate drive/folder for cache files ( Edit > Preferences ) and empty it regularly.