According to Wikipedia.org, “a content authoring tool is a software application used to create multimedia content typically for delivery on the World Wide Web. Content-authoring tools may also create content in other file formats so the training can be delivered on a CD (compact disc) or in other formats for various different uses. The category of content-authoring tools includes HTML, Flash, and various types of e-learning authoring tools.”
Many programs can be considered authoring tools, including Flash, and PowerPoint. However, only a small group of programs specifically include support for e-learning content standards such as SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) or AICC (CBT) (Aviation Industry CBT Committee). Examples: Articulate Storyline, Composica, Adobe Authorware and Camtasia.