Let's set the record straight.
There is no best way to learn photography. There are plenty of ways to learn photography and there really is no perfect answer this question. Everyone has their own learning style, as such there is no 'one size fits all' solution.
Some people teach themselves, others benefit greatly from a formal education. Others choose to get best of both worlds by learning photography online and teaching themselves.
A Few Ways To Learn Photography:
Read your manual
Read some photography books
Learn photography from the masters of photography
Read photography ebooks
Learn with a group of friends
Use Youtube videos
Attend university and study photography
Go to a local college
Go to a local photography course
Take a one day course
Learn from blogs and photo sites
Learn from an online photography course
Become active on a photography forum
Simple trial and error
Just shoot lots of photographs
Attend weekend courses
The list could go on and on. The main thing is that nobody can tell you what is best for you!
What you should really be asking:
If you want to learn photography, ask yourself what is the most fun you've had learning something? And then try to replicate that. When something is fun people tend to learn quickly. Also as yourself what format do you prefer when learning? Some people prefer the written word and others are more visual. Then choose your method(s) accordingly. A hybrid approach is really great. Just combine a few theoretical and practical approaches and you'll be all set.
Essential To Learning Photography:
This really applies to anything you want to get good at but it really works with photography.
- Have fun
- Practice hard
Without the hard work of practice and the fun of learning you won't get anywhere.
Photography is a Life-long Journey:
One of the most fascinating aspects of photography is that you really never stop learning. Not only does the art form evolve over time but you get older and you attain a different perspective. Your early photos will be embarrassingly bad but they may be more interesting in a different context. What's more, the technology of photography changes regularly as well. There is always something new to learn! How great is that?!