If you’re aiming to just learn how to use the platform, it’s fine to get a managed Kubernetes cluster up. The beauty of it is that once it’s up, you’re doing your business the Kubernetes way with kubectl, helm, etc.
Once you have a managed cluster up and you’ve gotten your kube config and have kubectl to manage the cluster, I would recommend going through Concepts | Kubernetes section. One of my favorite starting points are the “Workloads”.
There’s also other options for learning Kubernetes that don’t cost anything if you have a reasonably powerful computer to leverage. Personally I’m pretty lazy and I just use Docker for Desktop and enable Kubernetes in the settings.
The above mentioned is pretty much what most people need to know. Actually administrating a cluster is not necessary for most of the people I’ve ever talked with. Though knowing how to deploy and troubleshoot a cluster is very useful.
It is just my opinion, but kubeadm is the gold standard for managing a cluster. Though you also have what are like other “distros”, such as microk8s and k3s.
I’ve found k3s to be very simple and easy to get started with and eventually graduate up to something like kubeadm later. One problem with k3s is you don’t get to see mirror pods for the api-server and whatnot. So you can easily find yourself lacking some knowledge if you only ever use k3s.