If you're looking for a more engaging way to demonstrate your understanding of history, one-pagers may be just what you need!

One-pagers allow students to recall, review, and present ideas in an engaging way. They're proven to be a powerful tool for promoting your comprehension (how much you understand) and retention (how much you remember) of class material.

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What is a one-pager?

One-pagers are creative expressions of what you've learned. An effective one-pager combines 2 key elements — images with short phrases or keywords to demonstrate key takeaways about a given topic.

Here's an example of a one-pager that summarizes key takeaways from a unit on European exploration:

A one-pager explaining a history of colonialism in the Americas. There is a timeline on left, and notes and images in center. The image is owned by the author of this Byte.

While text is kept short and to the point, a one-pager requires a thorough understanding of a topic. One-pagers should cover the subject from multiple angles, demonstrating your deep understanding of the topic.

What is dual coding theory?

Dual coding theory is the basis for using one-pagers as a learning tool. This theory asserts that your learning will improve when content is presented in both visual and verbal form.

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One-pagers are great as a process to remember or review information, as they activate the two parts of the brain responsible for processing visual and verbal information.


Carly wants to demonstrate her understanding the causes of WWII. Which of the following strategies makes the best use of dual coding theory for reviewing and presenting what she knows?

What should you include in your one-pager?

Demonstrate what you've learned with a combination of text and images that are either handwritten or digital.

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  • keywords

  • quotes

  • short summaries

  • size and location of text

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  • pictures

  • symbols

  • stylized font

  • use of color

The use of text and visuals should be balanced. One shouldn't totally dominate the other.

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Don't be afraid of drawing! It's the process of creating images, not the quality of your artistic skills, that helps you learn and shows what you understand.

Check out the visual alphabet for some tips on how to draw anything with only a few shapes, dots, and lines.

How should you set-up your one-pager?

While a one-pager can be set up however you'd like, a guide or template is helpful when you're just starting out.

Templates will give you a starting point to organize your thoughts and content. As you become more familiar with the process, feel free to branch out into different setups.

You can get started setting up your one-pager using this simple layout:

Layout includes a perimeter section for keywords. 4 additional sections of different sizes for images, quotes, and phrases

There's no need to print out templates. Drawing the set-up in your notebook works just as well. Check out this and other free templates here.

How can you make one-pagers work in history class?

One-pagers have been used in various fields. Within education, they're mostly seen in an English class, but they work any time you want to show what you know.

In a history class, one-pagers can be used to demonstrate what you've learned or as a tool to process what you are learning.

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Demonstrate Learning

Explain, summarize, analyze any of the following types of content:

  • historical figures

  • historical events

  • concepts

  • current events

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Process Content

Use one-pagers as a kind of note-taking template to track your learning:

  • take notes on a presentation

  • summarize a reading

  • summarize a video, film, or podcast

  • create a one-pager as a review or study tool


Carly has some notes from a professor's colonialism lecture. The notes are headings and bullet points. What can she do to make these notes an effective one-pager? Select all that apply.

Take Action

Creating one-pagers gets easier with practice, especially if you don't consider yourself an artistic person.

Get started today and build your comfort and pleasure with the process!

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