Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have recently experienced rapid development and garnered significant attention from various populations. Despite the wide recognition of MOOCs as an important opportunity within educational practices, there are still many questions as to how we might satisfy students' needs, as evidenced by very high dropout rates. Researchers lack a solid understanding of what student needs are being addressed by MOOCs, and how well MOOCs now address (or fail to address) these needs. To help in building such an understanding, we conducted in-depth interviews probing student motivations, learning perceptions and experiences towards MOOCs, paying special attention to the MOOC affordances and experiences that might lead to high drop rates. Our study identified learning motivations, learning patterns, and a number of factors that appear to influence student retention. We proposed that the issue of retention should be addressed from two perspectives: retention as a problem but also retention as an opportunity.