Big data from massive open online courses (MOOCs) have enabled researchers to examine learning processes at almost infinite levels of granularity. Yet, such data sets do not track every important element in the learning process. Many strategies that MOOC learners use to overcome learning challenges are not captured in clickstream and log data. In this study, we interviewed 92 MOOC learners to better understand their worlds, investigate possible mechanisms of student attrition, and extend conversations about the use of big data in education.