I have enjoyed Elements so much. I was approached by Staples to do a review on a product for them. They gave me the choice of calculators, printers, mini-fridge, and software. I decided to go with the new Photoshop 11 because I have enjoyed it so much. They sent it to me for free to review. You can do a lot of simple things that just add that little bit extra umph to your pictures. There are a lot of free actions out there, too, you can get to further enhance--and of course many paid actions (see MCP Actions for great paid ones--they do have some free too. My favorite free set I have used is from the Pioneer Woman). You can use it to do everything from simple touch ups to dramatic photo changes. You can also do collages.
Photoshop 11 offers the ability to work in quick mode, guided mode, and expert mode. In quick mode, you are given the options of doing the bare minimum in photo editing. Guided mode is a middle-ground approach between the quick and expert modes. The expert mode is pretty similar to Photoshop CS6.
Adobe Photoshop 11 also has added a cool organizing method that is comparable to how we are used to using pictures in social media. You can tag photos based on people, places, or events. It is also easy to share your photos through email, Facebook, YouTube, and more. Another fun tool you can use in Photoshop is movie making. There are new styles, themes, and sound effects to help make your movie fabulous!
So how easy is it? I knew how to use Macromedia Fireworks from a college class, which is quite similar to Adobe Photoshop Elements. So with my class I took, it has been very easy for me to learn. I think it is actually quite easy to use for the average computer user. I think a class is worth it, though, if you can find one because there are so many more facets to software that you might not find on your own. I imagine there are classes offered online--or even just great blogs that will walk you through it.
Another popular photo editing software to consider is Adobe Lightroom. I haven't tried it, but it is very popular among photographers right now. I went with Elements because it is what I know and I am not really even deeply knowledgeable about the differences between the two softwares--like, why does Adobe make two similar photo editing softwares? Maybe one of you know?
Full disclosure: Staples provided me with the Photoshop Software for review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly my own and no other compensation was received.