Artist books if you can explore discussion of techniques employed (mentioned in the book) How to of art technqiue. Then yes I believe that you can notice improvement with those books. (Set your intention what information you want from the books)
Computer programming. In the sense that you're going to "know" ever peice of code - no. However for underestanding the codes better - yes and being able to find the right piece of code from the books a lot faster - yes. To build your skills further (assuming that you have a level of proficieny) - yes. This I think would be one of the hardest ones to recognise just how much benefit you actually received from photoreading . You can't split yourself and test where you would be without photoreading and how much further you did get with photoreading. However I do believe that you can develope a more resonate flow with the information and greatly reduce the learning curve.
Fiction writing... There are books that give you instruction on improving your writing so there is one set of "how to books" you can explore. Discussion of other writers techniques also has it's place for direct learning technique.
If you particularly like one or two authors styles then photoread a stack of their books with the intention of understanding and applying their style to your own writing.
The key there is to set your intention what do you expect from the books and do can you see a way of those books fitting your intentions by say regular means? With art books you can explore books that discuss the artists style with regular reading and apply it. Same with computer books, the provide codes and suggest general applications, and when writing if you particularly like a particular authors style you are encouraged to study their works.
To me the difference between the regular learning path and the direct learning path, in my view, is that your inner mind makes the decision of the how to approach and build your skills more effectively (it has a better sense of your habits, skills you already use and prefer to use etc, something that we personally find hard to believe but there is strong evidence that this is the case), so the follow on is the next logical step in the process. Whereas with regular learning we attempt a particular aspect without realising that there is information or a skill we need to develop inbetween since our conscious mind is apt to overlook what it doesn't know it needs to know and we create a learning stuggle until we inherit that skill (usually nonconsciously) or suddenly with a ah-ha experience and then everyting finally clicks into place.
If that's what you're looking for when Direct Learning you're probably undermining the process. Its a bit like digging up the seeds again to see if they sprouted. Like with gardens you need to water them with positive expectation, acting as if the seed has/is grown/ing and know that the little sprouts will surface in their own good time. Hasn't it happened it looks like the plant will never grow and you look at it the next day and it's literally reaching for the sky?