E-learning in higher education is usually either a small scale cottage industry or the product of a production line. Neither approach is perfect: production-line models of distance education suit relatively few learners while the craft approach, though more tailored, is expensive and hard to re-use. However, this picture of the e-learning craftsperson is more complex than it seems: often, learning management systems and their administrators play a subtle role in structuring and scaffolding the process, reducing the artistry required and acting as a silent teaching partner. A closer analogy than a craftsperson's cottage might be an e-learning sweatshop, in which educators assemble courses within a centrally provided mould or pattern. The solution is a post-industrial model in which the tools informate rather than automate. Rather than creating more industrial machines for learning, we must provide more adaptable, aggregatable and interoperable tools for the craftsperson.