Tanya Rutherford has been a student at four different universities in Australia and worked at two. She has seen firsthand the struggles students can have when they start studying without the right learning skills. Tanya has built a business around helping higher education students develop the skills they need to learn effectively. She believes that by giving people the right tools, mindset, and resilience, we can not only improve their learning outcomes but also create a positive flow-on effect that lasts throughout their lives.
Concerned with the number of students dropping out before their studies were completed, Tanya set out to develop a program that could teach study skills and strategies in a ‘brain-friendly’ way, enabling the students to develop their own, personalised approach to learning.
What does your business do, and how is it different?
We believe that by giving people the right tools, mindset and resilience we can not only improve their learning outcomes, but also create a positive flow-on effect throughout their lives. Imagine a world where all students start their higher education studies understanding the HOW and WHAT to learn, feeling CONFIDENT and MOTIVATED, and ENGAGED and RESILIENT when it comes to setbacks in their studies and personal lives. Imagine how they can then empower and build their communities.
We achieve this by:
- Partnering with Universities and RTOs to deliver our Learn2Learn program to their students
- Providing individual students with access to Learn2Learn programs and materials
- Partnering with Corporate Sponsors to deliver our (under development) Indigenous Youth programs
- Reinvesting 51% of profits into Indigenous education initiatives (Certified Social Enterprise)
What inspired you to start your business?
I was completing my Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education and coordinating a University Student Mentoring program and Leadership program. I realised that whilst we teach our teachers (and lecturers) how to structure the learning experience to support the learning needs of students, we don’t actually teach students how to learn. Preparatory programs focus on academic skills like research and academic writing but don’t necessarily empower students to become the proactive, effective learners we expect.
Students who were dropping out (pre COVID levels, approximately 22% students “dropping out” as a national average, with only about 30% of mature age, part-time students completing their degree after 9 years) cited several key reasons for dropping out (Academic support, Family responsibilities, Workload difficulties, Paid work needs, Financial difficulties, Stress/ Health and wellbeing, Expectations not met, Personal reasons and Study/Life balance) with a majority of these not addressed at the individual level.
As a result, I created our Learn2Learn program to overtly teach relevant study skills and strategies in a brain friendly way, incorporating activities that build self-awareness of mindset and enable the student to develop their own personalised approach to learning; develop learning confidence and self efficacy; develop whole of life approach to study and other commitments – resulting in a less stressed, more confident, resilient and effective learner with enhanced knowledge retention beyond the end of term. Hearing from our students how the program changed their lives and their confidence in themselves has been so rewarding!
Where in Queensland are you located?
I live with my young family just outside of Rockhampton – and it is paradise. Queensland is like living in a holiday location all year round!
Tell us about a recent success, win or challenge you overcame in your business.
I recently decided to stop promoting my coaching business and focus fully on Learn Grow Become. Within 5 minutes of making that decision, I had a call from a University who were keen to find out more about our Learn2Learn program because they’d realised that quality of teaching wasn’t enough on its own to guarantee success for students. It was such an affirmation that I’d made the right decision by creating more space in myself and in the business for new clients, instead of falling into the trap of ‘busyness’.
“I’d made the right decision by creating more space in myself and in the business
for new clients, instead of falling into the trap of ‘busyness’..”
What are you most excited about in the next 12 months?
Getting our program out to more students overall, partnering with new organisations (and building on our existing partnerships), and seeking funds to start creating our Indigenous Youth Learn2Learn program combining our existing Indigenised program with a face-to-face component, incorporating community mentor/coaches and being delivered by Indigenous facilitators.
How has the Advance Queensland Female Founders Impact Program helped you?
The Female Founders workshops, such as the recent Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Workshop: Work-Life Balance Masterclass are fantastic, and the Female Founders e-newsletters are a great resource. The Work-Life Balance masterclass helped me to define the areas of my business I need to focus on, particularly for the coming year. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily routine and forget to step into your CEO mindset for a thorough review and re-prioritisation.