I have to agree Simplicity matters to new users. All the activity settings that can modify a learning activity to be customized to fit what the teacher plans for the engaging the student can be overwhelming to many. It lead to the paradox of choice for new users, which can lead them to look for an easier tool.
The basic settings of most activities may fit 80% of what teachers want. So as teacher become more comfortable with blending their instruction with a LMS, they will want to make adjustments to their activities to change the way the student interact with each other with learning activities.
Site Administration / Plugin / Management Settings
With that said, our district has started to use the Site Administration / Plugin / Management Settings to adjust the default setting of activities/resources to be more customized to fit the needs of the school district. That way when a new user creates a learning activity, the teacher generally only need to edit the General Settings and save. The rest of the options are there when new users are ready to move to the next level of use.
Another benefit of adjusting the Site Administration / Plugin Settings is that the district can subtle influence the instructional practices that is encouraged. For example, the district is focusing on Feedback, so we have modified some of the Site Admin / Quiz Plugin settings to behave the way the district instructional coaches are doing professional development with their teachers. Of course the other options are still their available for teachers to modify to fit their purpose of the activity.
Of course the User Tours have helped greatly. We have downloaded and used some User tours from moodle.net to guide new user through the process of setting up activities. In fact we have modified some of those User Tours to guide students through the process of how to submit an assignment. Of course we are still learning how to create the tours.
After using Moodle for almost 10 years I have seen teachers create some well designed learning activities to support their instruction. So we are in the process to gather those learning activities into a single "one-stop shop" MarketPlace hub for our new users to import these already created learning activities/resources into their courses using the Sharing Cart Block.
The Learning Commons is a new concept to implement with the elementary teachers who typically have a fear of technology. So these Learning Commons will be already built courses that will have activities that are Standards Based learning activities. So the teachers and students will be automatically enrolled into a single grade level Mini-MOOC using the meta-enrollment function. That way we are trying to make it as simple as possible.
So I am probably off topic of the discussion of the comparison, but just wanted to share what we have been trying to simplify the experience for new users. Just wished that as Site Admins we could have more functionality to adjust more of the activity settings. Because the Site settings for a forum are limited compared to the quiz settings, which makes sense because of different activities.
Keep Moodling Away...