Dave, you make a couple of good points actually … “render” is a word that’s used very differently in different contexts: in Photoshop, it effectively implies creating something from nothing (clouds, noise), whereas in media production it generally means creating a final image or product; the meaning is similar in Vegas (video) and WaveLab.
There was uproar when WaveLab 7 was released and no longer contained a printed manual, but really, the manual is just a reference, and doesn’t contain much instructions on how to carry out specific tasks, beyond what’s already in the online help. There’s no indication of what is the best or recommended workflow for a given use case, and indeed it could be argued that there could never be, given that the application is already so complex and flexible; “Word” syndrome, to an extent.
Nevertheless, since the re-write of the application (v6 to v7), I think there is definitely room for more written documentation aimed at the beginner, even if this is only in the form of a PDF. The “Operation Manual” is fine if I already know what I want to do and just need more detail (and I am aware that there is that capability within the application in the first place!), but there’s a big gap between “Getting Started” and “Operation Manual”. People need a “How to do xyz in WaveLab” manual!
@Dave, the best I can personally recommend at the present time (and the usual disclaimers apply: your mileage may vary, I have no association with …, etc.) are the video tutorials here and here. The former are paid, but very good, and there are some free previews on the website, and although they’re based on version 7, they nevertheless still apply; the latter are free and are probably already on your DVD if you bought a boxed product. Neither address WaveLab Elements specifically, but much of the ground is common, and at least you can see what you’re missing!
On the more general point of the difference in features between WaveLab Elements 8 and WaveLab 8, it may be galling to find something missing in Elements, but of all the applications I use that have a “full” and an “elements” version, I think WaveLab Elements represents incredible value for money. If you’re working with 2-channel files (i.e. ubiquitous stereo) in a typical home/project studio, there’s very little functionality you’ll find missing that can’t be replaced with other free or very cheap plugins. The “pro” version on the other hand offers many features that I personally don’t require at the moment, but nevertheless I have found it worth the investment to not have any limitations in terms of what I can do with it; batch processing, spectral editing and in particular the metering in 8 are the highlights for me, but I also have Elements on a laptop which has been worth every cent of the upgrade price from the free LE that came with my portable recorder.
Hope this helps!