I’ve been using my Canon 700D for about a year now and I have certainly improved my photography skill set expotentially since first getting to grips with a SLR.
A things I tried that worked out well for me
I used Flickr and DeviantArt for technical insight
Both sites often carry details about the cameras, lenses and settings used to capture shots. So in the case of my day trip to the Aquarium I looked for photos of fish in thanks and pulled the lense, iso and aperture settings from various photos. That gave me a range of results but a good ball park for where my settings should be. I still do this today when I shoot in a new environment.
Use Flickr and DeviantArt for inspiration
I again turned to these sites for their amazing submissions, they are aspirational and informative. I would study photos I liked and looked out for light sources, photoshopping and composition.
Bought a cheap portrait lense
Most the general purpose lenses don’t have great depth of field to get those blurry backgrounds. My friend had a cheap portrait canon lense for £80 I tried it, loved it and bought myself one. It really opened up my learning how aperature and depth of field worked and I then learn’t to apply that with the other lenses. As the effects on a portrait lense are heightened it is a good way to get started.