Living in Hawaii, I see and endless wave of people with digital cameras. That makes sense as Maui is a world class travel & surf destination. What does not makes sense is how many of these people have little if any idea what all the knobs, and dials are for. They simply just turn on the camera and start shooting. As a consequence many of these people are disappointed with the results they get.
Digital cameras are smart. The problem is people do not understand how they work or the limitations of a digital CCD chip. I admit understanding the technical side of photography is not as fun as the creative side, but just knowing the basics can help make a big improvement. This is why I suggest reading the manual. Even if you only absorb 10% of the material, you will gain valuable insight as to how to set up your camera and what it can do.
Once you are familiar with how to set your camera you can take some online tutorials or participate in a workshop. This way you can concentrate on the concepts being taught, not how to go from auto to manual mode.