What helps me learn to find my way around
When it comes to learning my way around, I don't learn well by doing. I have to use other methods. What helps me is to write down all of the steps that it takes to get somewhere (i.e. "make a left at the traffic light next to the shopping center, etc."), with all of the landmarks in order. Landmarks are important. I pretty much navigate by landmarks.
Another thing that helps me is map software. I find that map software helps me learn to find my way around better than paper maps. It has many useful features, like zooming in and out, searching by address, marking points of interest and route planning. I use Microsoft Streets and Trips. Here is a link to the official site: