Locating Vocational Education Curriculum and Instructional Materials. ERIC Digest. 

by Wagner, Judith O. 

Locating education curriculum materials can be a frustrating and time-consuming job. This ERIC Digest, an update of an earlier Digest (Wagner 1990), provides a variety of sources for curricula, lesson plans, and other instructional materials. Included are World Wide Web (WWW) sites, listservs, the ERIC database, and agencies that can assist in your quest for vocational education materials.


Networking is an important aspect of any educational endeavor. Finding out what others in the field are doing can be invaluable in planning programs. The Internet has made the networking process almost effortless. A combination of listservs and websites allows anyone to hop aboard and find a wealth of information and materials


Several listservs and the AskERIC question-answering service provide almost immediate answers to questions. Subscribing to a listserv is one way to make contact with others who are doing similar work. A listserv is a network-based discussion group devoted to a single topic. Once you have subscribed to a listserv, you will receive all e-mail messages that are posted and you may post messages as well (Stussman 1995). To subscribe to a listserv, send an e-mail message to [email protected] For example, to subscribe to VOCNET, send a message to: [email protected] Leave the subject line blank and, in the body of the message, enter: subscribe vocnet your firstname lastname. If you have an automatic signature block, be sure it is turned off. You will receive a confirmation message with information about the management and rules of the listserv. Once you have subscribed, post a message by sending it to: [email protected] Your message will then be posted to all subscribers of the listserv. VOCNET ([email protected]) is maintained by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education (NCRVE). Discussions on VOCNET cover all aspects of vocational and technical education.

Additional listservs include ones for business education ([email protected]), technology education ([email protected]), school-to-work ([email protected] and [email protected]), and training and development ([email protected]). Most people who subscribe to these networks are willing to share their expertise.

Another way to receive personalized information is through AskERIC ([email protected]), an Internet-based service that provides responses to requests within 48 hours. The response will usually include a brief ERIC search and referrals to other sources--mostly Internet based--of information on the topic. The AskERIC website also includes the AskERIC Virtual Library (AEVL) and access to searching the ERIC database (http://ericir.syr.edu/Eric/). AEVL includes lesson plans, ERIC searches, ERIC Digests, and materials from NASA, CNN, and the Discovery/Learning Channel.


The World Wide Web is a system for finding and accessing Internet resources. The web links objects seamlessly so that users can go directly to particular items in cyberspace--the theoretical boundaries of the Internet (Stussman 1995). The World Wide Web provides a number of sites that lead to curriculum resources and a wealth of other valuable information.



This site, located at the University of Central Florida, includes general information, curriculum resources, school-to-work information, legislative information, and career and job information. 

Vocational Education in South Dakota 


This site was developed primarily for vocational teachers in South Dakota but gets "hits" from all over the world. It provides links to NCRVE, all ERIC components, the U.S. Department of Education, and several electronic journals.

The U.S. Department of Education maintains a web site (http://www.ed.gov) that provides entry to a host of education-related resources including the entire ERIC system, NCRVE, the National Center for Education Statistics, and other departmental projects.


ERIC is the major database source for vocational and technical education curriculum. It contains a wealth of materials from sources all over the world. The materials are noncommercial and cover all educational levels elementary through adult. The ERIC database is available on CD-ROM at most university libraries, teacher centers, and state libraries. You can also search ERIC through the AskERIC website (http://ericir.syr.edu/Eric/). For more information, contact:
ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education

1900 Kenny Road

Columbus, OH 43210-1090

800/848-4815; FAX: 614/292-1260

http://www.osu.edu/units/education/cete/ericacve/index .html

e-mail [email protected]


Many instructional materials labs and consortia produce vocational and technical education curriculum materials for a single state or group of states. These organizations are often located at universities and most offer their products for sale to the general public.

Vocational Instructional Materials Lab (VIML)

Center on Education and Training for Employment

The Ohio State University

1900 Kenny Road

Columbus, OH 43210-1090

800/848-4815; FAX: 614/292-1260

e-mail [email protected] 

VIML develops business/industry validated materials and assessment products for areas of vocational-technical education. Ohio Competency Assessment Profiles (OCAPS) are criterion-referenced assessments that measure entry-level occupational skills. 


Instructional Materials Laboratory

University of Missouri-Columbia

2316 Industrial Drive

Columbia, MO 65202

800/669-2465; FAX: 573/882-1992 

Develops competency-based curriculum, lesson plans, and workbooks. 


American Association for Vocational Instructional Materials

220 Smithonia Road

Winterville, GA 30683


Produces manuals, workbooks, software, and videos for many occupational education subjects. It also publishes teacher and administrator education materials. 


Curriculum and Instructional Materials Center (CIMC)

Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education

1500 West Seventh Street

Stillwater, OK 74074-4364

800/654-4502; FAX: 405/743-5154 


Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD)

P.O. Box 21206

Waco, TX 76702-1206

800/972-2766; http://www.cord.org 

CORD is a nonprofit organization engaged in curriculum development efforts for contextual learning. 


Curriculum Materials Service (CMS)

254 Agricultural Administration Building

2120 Fyffe Road

Columbus, OH 43210-1067

614/292-4848; FAX: 800/292-4919


Provides materials in all aspects of agricultural education. 


Vocational-Technical Education Consortium of States (V-TECS)

1866 Southern Lane

Decatur, GA 30033-4097

800/248-7701, ext. 543 

V-TECS produces validated, competency-based outcome standards, curriculum materials, and assessment instruments. 


Curriculum Publications Clearinghouse (CPC)

Western Illinois University

46 Horrabin Hall

Macomb, IL 61455

800/322-3905; FAX: 309/298-2869


e-mail [email protected] 

CPC serves as the umbrella organization for NCRVE and V-TECS materials distribution.


Some states maintain vocational education libraries. Some are solely for use of the educators within their state, but others will loan some materials to anyone in the field. A listing of State Vocational and Technical Education Curriculum Centers is located on the NCRVE website: 


Contact the center in your state for information about their services.

For example, the New Hampshire Curriculum Materials Library will loan materials directly only to New Hampshire teachers but will serve out-of-state patrons through interlibrary loan.

Curriculum Materials Library

Keene State College

229 Main Street

Keene, NH 03435-3201

603/358-2749; FAX: 603/358-2745


e-mail [email protected]

Two of the Curriculum Coordination Centers (CCCs) still lend materials within their regions. Check with them directly to learn the full range of their services.

East Central CCC

University of Illinois at Springfield, K-80

Springfield, IL 62794-9243




Western CCC

University of Hawaii Manoa

1776 University Avenue, UA 2-7

Honolulu, HI 96844-0001


This ERIC Digest is not intended to be a definitive list of sources for vocational and technical education curriculum and instructional materials. There are many other commercial and nonprofit agencies that produce and sell vocational instructional materials. This Digest provides a starting point for those with limited resources.


Catri, D. B. "Teachers' Helpers: A Resource Guide to Materials Centers." VOCATIONAL EDUCATION JOURNAL 71, no. 3 (March 1996): 28-29.
Stussman, B. "Network Terms to Get You through the 1990s." ERIC REVIEW 4, no. 1 (Fall 1995): 12-14.

Wagner, J. O. LOCATING VOCATIONAL EDUCATION CURRICULA. ERIC DIGEST NO. 97. Columbus: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 1990. (ED 318 915)

Wagner, J. O. USING THE INTERNET IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION. ERIC DIGEST NO. 160. Columbus: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 1995. (ED 385 777)

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