Mechanical engineering as any other engineering field is a very practical field and a lot of the knowledge which is used to develop products, test and manufacture is highly context driven and very tacit (understood or implied without being stated) in nature
Most of the knowledge and skill required to generate products is in people’s heads, experiences and practices.
So, the complete knowledge base can be thought of as an iceberg with 5% above the surface and rest 95% below it.
This is one of the reasons why Learning by doing is a very important phase of learning for mechanical engineers. Most mechanical engineers learn their trade while working on projects and designing stuff.
As an Example: A lot of engineers know what an engine does and how it works even the theory behind it but only the engineers practicing the design and development day in day out know what the constraints and difficulties are faced during actual design and have to adjust their thinking based on failures and obstacles faced.
The work experience builds tacit knowledge.
Documenting Tacit knowledge is very important for organizations. This is the reason why organizations tend to standardize their practices as Standard operating procedures or design guidelines and check sheets. This whole effort is called “knowledge management” and big companies have a separate department dedicated for it. It is to ensure that learnings are captured and transferred to other engineers.