In formal speech and writing, counterfactual clauses beginning with as if and as though take imperfect subjunctive, which means the were form in the case of to be, the only verb in English specifically marked for that tense. This the same tense you use with wish. For example,
- It looked as if it were already done.
- I wish it were done already.
- She dressed herself up as though she were a little princess.
- She wishes she were a little princess.
- He orders me about as if I were his wife. (but I’m not)
- He wishes I were his wife, but I’m not.
For other verbs, you just use the pluperfect there by using had learned, as you have done.
- He talks about Rome as though he had been there himself. (but he hasn’t)
There is some distinction to me made between whether the hypothetical is in the past or the present, leading to a simple past versus pluperfect=past perfect distinction:
He acts as though he hadn’t eaten a decent meal for a month. (subjunctive about the past, so pluperfect/past perfect)
He acts as though he ate a decent meal right before today’s race. (subjunctive about the present, so simple past)
When you’re talking something that the speaker supposes to be true, there’s no marked subjunctive in the present. It works like like then.
- He looks as if he knows the answer.
- He looks like he knows the answer.
As those examples show, although originally as if/though could only introduce counterfactuals, it no longer inevitably does so. Also, in informal speech, some of these niceties are no longer always observed. The alt.usage.english Subjunctive FAQ has more about all this.