I always felt the user interface for selenium IDE was not good for learning purposes. There is a selenium clone called molybdenum. It utilizes the same framework and works in almost the same way as selenium, with the exception of the storage format which is in a more standard XML format. You can only record in the XML format, and not in other languages as you can with the selenium IDE (with the selenium IDE you need selenium remote control and selenium server to execute any scripts that are not HTML).
When you examine the XML format (lets say you need to do cosmetic changes, i.e. changing the targets in a script from id= to xpath= with a find/replace function) it is much simpler to interpret and translate it into the selenium remote control with your language of choice.
At least this has been my experience with selenium. Someone has made a better front end for utilizing the IDE and even your xml scripts can be executed from the command line (provide firefox and molybdenum are installed).