So almost all the learning I did was from books (mostly in russian).
Side note 2.
I strongly believe that your mother language helps or complicates learning new stuff.
Russian seems to be a language that have helped a lot people to learn complex things.
All my practical programming skills comes from experimenting on your own.
I second you, any real knowledge I have in the computing area or programming, comes from experimenting on my own. A little like learning how to play a music instrument, but if you have a great professor or guide helping you it will definitely take you beyond and at a faster pace.