Science & Technology

Training and Learning: One-Pagers

Chris Hadfield

Lesson time 10:03 min

Preparing for space travel means learning massive amounts of information. Learn how Chris used a series of one-page summaries to recall complex systems and concepts on the fly during his time in space.

Chris Hadfield
Teaches Space Exploration
The former commander of the International Space Station teaches you the science of space exploration and what the future holds.
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When you're on board a spaceship, the amount of information that you need to have ready to dig into is kind of overwhelming. Anything can be happening. You've got all these systems running. You're talking to the mission controls all around the world. You're trying to get the job done. And somehow you've got to keep it all straight in your head. And you might go from speaking to the prime minister of Russia in Russian to reprogramming a computer in a language that you don't know all that well to taking a really complicated picture to running a fluid physics experiment, all within a couple of hours. And how do you keep resetting your brain so that the critical information that you needed during that particular activity is fresh? How do you-- how do you get those things into your head at the time that you need them, especially for the things that have a high impact, you know, where an experiment might fail or it might be life or death or something safety. So a large part of successfully being an astronaut is learning how to manage information, how to learn things, how to keep things in your brain where you need them. For me, the best way to do that is initially just sort of learn the whole thing. Start with, you know, the world, OK, just the whole thing. Let's just start with all the information, all the colors of the rainbow, every bit of information. Let's try and get as much of the big picture as I can. But then let's start whittling it down to the more complicated stuff, pages and pages and pages of notes of the specifics of it all. What does the interface that I'm dealing with look like? Like when you're driving your car down the highway, you know there's an engine and there are wheels and there's a suspension system and brake lines. But what you're really dealing with is the steering wheel and the speedometer and what you see visually around you and the pedal that you're pushing on. That's your interface with all of those complicated systems. And it's the same for anything, really, in life. There's a big complex theory behind it, but how are you interacting with it, and how can you turn the wheel the right way or step on the pedal the right way so that you get done what you want to do? And you can treat every system on a spaceship that way. How do you boil it down to the part that is your interface? And the way I always do that is a one pager. I try and take this great holistic complexity of ideas, all of these multiple textbooks of real specific information, and then look at it through the eyes of the operator of the machine. You can say, I know all that theory is out there, but how am I interfacing with it? When I throw this switch, what does that switch mean to me? When I turn the wheel, what is actually behind that happening? Remind myself of the complexity through a one-page summary of the complex systems. And when you've trained as an astronaut for a decade, what you end up with is a book like this one. And this ...

Explore the unknown

Impossible things happen. At age nine, Chris Hadfield knew he wanted to go to space. He eventually went there three times, becoming a commander of the International Space Station. In his MasterClass, Chris teaches you what it takes to explore space and what the future holds for humans in the final frontier. Learn about the science of space travel, life as an astronaut, and how flying in space will forever change the way you think about living on Earth.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

What an incredible class. My regards to Hadfield for telling such an incredible story in such a compelling way.

This is one of the best classes I have ever taken, I have multiple degrees. I loved it. The biggest thing I think that holds me back from taking more classes is the fact that I can't download the class videos onto my mobile device and take them where I go. There have been 15+ times within the last month that I have pulled out my phone and wanted to watch but couldn't.

Incredible class! Utterly detailed and fascinating. Captain Hadfield is a brilliant lecturer among other things, making this an enjoyable journey.

I am a student of life who loves arts and sciences. This is the second course I have completed. With the things I learned, I was able to appreciate the ISS experience on my Oculus Quest headset in virtual reality. The last lessons in this course is my favorite and probably the most important lesson of all. It is one I will comeback and listen many times.


Chengzhi W.

Oh my god! This is the best and most practical lecture from the whole course !! I love it !!!

Eric B.

Very inspiring, as I do deal with complicated technical stuff at my job I should try the one-pager notebook idea - typically we babble notes into wikis or documents that end up being too long for comfort, but a one-page paper document gives the ability to put summary info in an easy-to-digest manner.

Denny C.

The outstanding concept's in leadership I can use for everything is a treasure beyond the cost of this class!

Mick L.

I've signed up for MasterClass for their Film Directing classes, this is one of the best lesson's with information I can use in my field.

Jim S.

I enjoyed this look at how he manages his information. It’s a good example of a technique used by a great learner. I’ll try it some time. It also says to me that astronauts must be efficient and thorough learners before all things.


He is the best instructor. I loved his "gravity" comment when the papers fell out of the book. It was perfect. I especially like the "one pagers" idea. I can immediately apply that to my current situation. Thank you!!

Santiago R.

a complete sts crew handbook at (1000+ pages of space shuttle operational and constructional details ! )

Justin S.

I'm glad to know that in my role as an airline captain, I have been utilizing my own methods that Commander Hadfield discusses here. The concept of "one pagers" is something that I've done my entire career when training for a new aircraft or a new position. I have many, many notebooks at home that act as my "one-pagers". While not exactly the same format as Chris's, I'm glad to know I've been approaching my profession the right way. While I can never compare my role to that of the Commander of the ISS and an astronaut, the parallels are striking and I'm loving every aspect of this program!

Anna E.

This lesson alone made it worth the price of the class. I had an Anatomy & Physiology professor in college who let us condense down each chapter's lessons down to one side of a 3x5 index card, so of course we learned to write in mouseprint and condense down each chapter to tiny little notes. By the final exam, we got to condense all of THAT down even further to (2) sides of a larger 5x7 index card. By the time we took the exam, those of us who'd made good notecards ended up not referring to them all that much because we had that "cloud" which Chris speaks of, lurking in the back of our minds.

Marco S.

It's long time since I have had to do exams but whenever I need to capture new information I have done exactly the same. These days I tend to create mind-maps if I need to 'design' something from scratch or communicate an idea.