...and a way that works for one won't work for all, because folks learn in different ways.
That's just not true.
I learned CW before there WERE PCs, software for CW, and all the rest of the crutches that are available now. If you wanted to learn CW, and everybody did, because CW was about all Novices were allowed, you just learned it the old fashioned way, letter by letter, and gradually learned what each letter sounded like in Morse code.
With practice, what began as agonizingly slow recognition of each letter as it was sent and heard started coming more easily, and receiving speed increased. It takes dedication and practice, but relying on other techniques to make it happen is absolutely not required. In fact, I think it complicates the process needlessly.