Moving this discussion to the Premiere Elements forum.
Probably the best place to start would be with Steve Grisetti's Basic Training Series, at Muvipix.com: http://muvipix.com/products.php?searchphrase=basic+training+premiere+elements&btn.x=22&btn .y=15
Here is a list of some more learning resources: http://forums.adobe.com/message/5341028#5341028
Also, this particular AdobeTV episode would ba a good starting point: http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adobe-digital-school-collection/what-is-adobe-premiere-elements/ It talks about PrE 11, but the general capabilities will be the same for PrE 8 - just some different operations, and looks. Still a great overview for all versions of PrE.
Download and save the Premiere Elements 8 Help PDF to your computer hard drive.
That is your quickest route to comprehensive video editing information specific to your version of interest. It is an excellent starting resource.
Often the principles of these versions are the same, but the features have a tendency to be moved, replaced, or discontinued from version to version. As I always write, it is very frustrating in those instances to be armed with principles when you cannot find a feature. Forums are great to fill in the gaps if that becomes necessary.
The keys to success with Premiere Elements 8 require
a. Download and install of the Premiere Elements 8.0.1 update
The program is essentially unmanageable without it.
The only evidence of its install is a message at the end of the install stating that the update has been successfully installed. Adobe leaves no "8.0.1" anywhere to be found after that update.
Essentials of the program include:
1. Making sure that the automatic background rendering is turned OFF in Edit Menu/Preferences/General. The 8.0.1 Update should do that for you, but check nonetheless.
2. Making sure that the AutoAnalyzer options in the Elements Organizer are turned OFF. See Edit Menu/Preferences/AutoAnalyzer Options in the Elements Organizer that comes with Premiere Elements 8. My major encounter in that regard with the feature was its making unwanted stacks of my video clips after it decided on its own to split the clips.
3. Making sure that the GPU option in preferences is set appropriate for your video card. See Edit Menu/Preferences/General and the Enable GPU Playback option there.
And, even if you have a high level resource computer, remember that Premiere Elements 8.0/8.0.1 is a 32 bit application running in the 32 bit comparability mode of a 64 bit system and as such has the liabilities of 32 bit, namely, maximum supported installed RAM = 4.0 GB (3.0 GB or less are typically available).
Once setup, I have found the program to be a fine and stable performer.