You can't really use your PodXT as an interface - if you're just recording electric guitar, there's a ton of good 2-channel USB or Firewire interfaces out there for pretty cheap. I've had great luck with the M-Audio stuff, and am currently using a ProFire 2626 - I would recommend their budget stuff unequivocally.
I wouldn't worry about latency on USB, unless your computer itself is ancient - you should have more than enough bandwidth if you're just recording a single track of electric guitar at a time.
As far as other gear, definitely grab a SM57 - it's not the be-all, end-all of recording electric guitar, but if you can't at least get a decent
recorded sound out of a SM57 and a budget recording interface, then your problem isn't in the gear - more guitar has been recorded with an SM57 than anything else, I'll wager, and while it's not the most full-frequency of mics, it's strong everywhere you want a guitar to be, and weak everywhere you don't. You're also going to want some sort of monitoring chain - studio monitors are definitely the way to go if you get serious, but if you're just learning and only recording electric guitar a single track at a time, you can't get into TOO much trouble with phase so a set of decent studio headphones will work well enough, though you're going to want to check your mixes on a few other systems (this is best practice anyway - my car, actually, is my favorite "consumer" reference system, since I do so much music listening in there anyway).
Classes certainly won't hurt, but I've heard plenty of awesome recordings by people who have never taken a class, and plenty of uninspired recordings by people with degrees in audio engineering. Yes, there's a lot of bad information on the net, but you can usually weed out the proverbial wheat from the chaff by listening to people who are making great recordings, and ignoring people who aren't. Ola Englund has a couple great videos on micing amps on YouTube, so I'd start there.
That said, I think more than "tips and tricks," what really pays off in home recording is just time spent actually doing it. There are no "silver bullets" here - spend some time getting the fundamentals down, and then just spend a lot of time experimenting and trying things out, and listen as objectively as you can to what works and what doesn't.
By the way, not sure what your budget is, but if you want to get into your own drum tracks, EZDrummer is currently on sale at Sweetwater download-only for like $30, and the Superior 2.0 crossgrade is $99. EZDrummer is a no brainer at that price, and if you don't mind the extra hundred bucks, Superior is really pretty solid. Drum programing is a whole different art form, though.
By the way, if you need a DAW, check out Reaper.